19 November, 2017

Brexit Papers: Who's in charge of Europe's Information? the Chickens or the Fox?




Who’s in charge of Europe’s Hen House?
The final legal deadline for the European Commission to provide the Brexit Papers was Thursday 16 November 2017. That day passed without any sign of life from the Commission. Not one page arrived. Nor was any message received. No apology.
Nothing arrived on Friday 17 November. Before the end of work, I therefore wrote to the Commission Secretariat-General about this. The reason for the delay was made clear in the reply.
Politics.
Apparently, for the Commission, politics overrules legal obligations. The letter says the Commission “hierarchy” is higher than the law!
The Secretary General’s office wrote that:
“The extended time limit expired on 16 November 2017.
We have finalised the assessment of your application. However, as our reply still requires the approval of our hierarchy, we will not be able to respond within the extended time limit.
I regret this additional delay and sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
The present “political Commission” gives itself political freedom to ignore legal deadlines. It is strict on the legal obligations when it comes to the general public. They must hold to these deadlines. Otherwise the tax-paying public gets its wrist slapped. No information for you, whatever the Commission’s legal obligation to publish public information. You want information? Then start the months-long request all over again! My request was first lodged in August.
One law for the fox, another for the hens in the hen house.
Robert Schuman, who launched the idea of the European Community on 9 May 1950, said the Commission should be impartial. It should not be political. It should not listen to lobbyists. And it should have an open information policy. The United Nations sought his advice about setting up an information network that was free of Fake News and Disinformation. Remember this was the time of the Cold War.
Early last year, well before the 23 June Referendum, in a freedom of information request a member of the public, Mr Chris Harris, requested the pre-Brexit background papers. These are documents of major public interest. The Commission should have been releasing them in a continual publishing cycle. It should be obliged to publish regardless of Freedom of Information requests.
  • It is the public that is paying for the research.
  • It is the public’s interest at stake in the decision.
  • It is the duty of the Commission to have the public educated with fair, unbiased information before they make any decision regarding European Communities that need to be taken.
People should know the consequences of Brexit before the Referendum, Mr Chris Harris argued. He was fobbed off. The Commission brandished its two powerful weapons, legal complication and time-wasting. The latter is facilitated by the strict 15-day deadlines imposed in the EC Regulation 1049/2001.
Mr Harris made clear the importance of this request and the damage of the Commission’s negative and tardy attitude to releasing information:
“There is/was (as the referendum has now taken place) an over-riding public interest in releasing the documents. It had been 40+ years since the British public were given the opportunity to say whether they wanted to be involved in the EU project, a whole generation never voted for it in the first place. They also have the right to know, if they vote yes, on what terms they will stay in the union.”
The Commission had set up a UK Referendum Task Force (UKTF) under one of its most eminent lawyers and former Commission chief Spokesman, Jonathan Faull. The Commission refused to provide any information, even though the writer, Mr Harris, had replied inside the given time. His error? He did not add the magic words ‘I am requesting a review‘ after the first refusal of the Commission! (A refusal is normal Commission practice.)
However, Mr Harris had pointed out that the Commission had not replied to all his questions in their first reply. How then was he to ask for a review when the Commission had not given the answers he could appeal against!?
The Commission dismissed his information request. It replied:
“The Commission regrets not being able to derogate from the compulsory deadlines laid down in Article 7(2) of Regulation 1049/2001, as it is bound to treat all applications for access to documents according to the same rules so as to ensure equal treatment of those applications.”
We can all envisage the tears of of the Commission shed, not being able to supply the necessary information before the 23 June 2016 referendum !! Tears of joy. Phew! we got out of a political row with the UK government and some nasty headlines in the British press! They may have accused the Commission of explaining the difficulties that Brexit would cause, the cost of the Brexit bill, the assault on Citizens’ rights and the impossibility of having a customs border in Northern Ireland which was not a border.
Now the Commission is faced with years of extra bureaucracy in the so-called Brexit negotiations. It has already cost untold sums to industries, anxieties to millions of EU and UK citizens and raucous laughter among EU’s competitors at what they say is the stupidest decision any country has made.
And Horror of Horrors! it may have raised the deadly question about NOT having a referendum on Lisbon Treaty. In their manifestos political parties promised referendums. In office each UK Government successively refused referendums on the democracy-changing treaties from Maastricht to Lisbon.
As for Article 50, it is triply dead. What use are “negotiations” on an Article in a treaty whose validity is highly dubious? This is a time bomb for the future, well beyond the present negotiation farce. The Irish national referendums rejected it. British polls rejected it.
The UK governments had refused to have a referendum to validate the treaty. The same article, then called Article 59, had been roundly rejected by the French and Dutch referendums when it first saw life in the Constitutional Treaty. So how on earth could a rejected article be legally the basis for a non-binding Brexit referendum??
More than the stupidest decision, the Referendum question itself was one of the most illegal and ill-thought of operations in modern history. Surely a democracy should have as its first priority to make sure that any Community of Democracies is really democratic?
The closed-door Councils of Politicians have stolen the democracy of 500 million people. Whoever heard of a closed door democracy?
Ask the North Koreans!

13 November, 2017

1. J'ACCUSE! Brexit is THEFT.


J’ACCUSE was the title of a book written by a patriotic German during World War One. It was published in 1915 in Switzerland. It was anonymous to protect the author’s life. He exposed the hypocrisy of the German leaders who called on their fellow citizens for patriotic solidarity for their act of illegal war.
After the Germans invaded Belgium without real motive, their soldiers were attacked by ordinary Belgian citizens — a populist revolt at the outrage. Germans then slaughtered the civilian population. Cardinal Mercier addressed the people at Christmas 1914 listing the many priests who were shot, the hundreds of civilians shot or burnt, included old people and children.
The German justification? The law of war!
Rubbish said, lawyer Richard Grelling (for he it was who wrote the book). Might does not make Right. THEFT is absolutely wrong.
The Belgian people were defending their homes and country against armed invaders who despised Belgian neutrality. It is two-faced hypocrisy for the Kaiser’s army to steal the Belgian homeland by brutal force. It is an evil act to kill those Belgians who said ‘No you don’t!’ On the contrary THEFT is quite understandable by universal values. Not just in Belgium but everywhere. Should William Tell be burnt for defending his Swiss home against Habsburg thieving fingers?
Grelling thus emphasized the primacy of moral law over rationalizations of force.
The first stage of this condemnation was theft. That was clear to cool heads on all sides, even Germans. Killing came next. The first failure of the Germans was to condemn their own invasion of Belgium.
The same arrogance applies today to Brussels. Those who say they are “in power” in Brussels try to make up universal rules. Brussels politocrats spout disinformation. They make up the rules as they go — to their own advantage.
The Brussels politburo has already lost the argument for universal values and truth. It may not have sunk into their skulls. They may try to ignore it. They may think that the “itch” of their bad conscience may go away with time. It is not a physical itch. And it won’t go away.
Example: what did they say about Brexit? Where was the theft?
On 24 June 2016, four EU presidents issued a statement about early UK referendum results. They had fallen on their ears a few short hours earlier. Here’s what they said:
“We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way.”
Here’s what I wrote the same day repeating what I wrote two years earlier. The main problem was the earlier THEFT of European democracy. De Gaulle tried to expunge the lucid light of European democracy. Schuman and Europe’s Founding Fathers said the Councils, committees and parliament should all be OPEN to the public and elected on a European basis.
Then came the THEFT of Schuman’s honor as the Father of European Democracy. De Gaulle refused to recognize Robert Schuman’s office as President of the European Parliament on 19 March 1958. In other States Schuman was treated like a Head of State. Once Schuman died in 1963 and other leaders lost their democratic guts, the Commission and the Council become anti-democratic, closed door organizations.
De Gaulle forbade Adenauer, Jean Monnet, former French prime ministers and others to attend his funeral. Weak-kneed politicians acquiesced to the line of French Foreign Minister Couve de Murville and the Gaullists who wanted to destroy the Community system. Gaullists threatened, then boycotted the institutions like the Council and Parliament in the “Empty Chair” crisis. Europeans fought for their democratic rights, good French democrats leading them. De Gaulle lost that fight. After riots and national paralysis, a French referendum kicked him out in 1969. He was replaced as President of the Republic by Alain Poher, formerly Schuman’s chief of staff.
The flame of Democracy is still STOLEN. Politicians love meeting secretly. Light of open democracy, required by the treaties, is still shut out of the councils and committees. Brussels today is run by a neo-Gaullist politburo. It still has more in common to the politiburos of the Soviet system. Robert Schuman denounced these “People’s Democracies” as counterfeit democracies.
Their characteristics ?
  • They did not allow free and open, ideological debate in society — for example about Communist atheism vs Europe’s Judeo-Christian heritage. Today politicians spout the slogan of Islam as a “religion of peace“. That title belonged to Christianity until 2001. Then President George W Bush first misappropriated the term — believe it or not — after the jihadi attack on the NY Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Washington. Why? Islam means submission, surrender or subjection in Arabic, not peace The verb is directed to a god situated in Mecca called Allah, not the Judeo-Christian God. (Oxford Dictionary: islam, submission from aslama, resign oneself). Submission is what a Politburo wants too. All voters who disagree are called “populists”!
  • A Politburo rules. It refuses to justify its base ethical standards. No free worker agrees to the dictatorship of the workers. Nor do today’s free citizens agree to the “Democratic Deficit”.
  • The politburo members were the self-elected super-citizens. The means to attain this status as the elite was party membership. Today the Commission is controlled the same way, by party cronies. Only members holding specific party cards are admitted (totally contrary to the oath of office they make). Other voices are excluded as “popularism”. Ordinary citizens who usually have no party membership are excluded. They amount to 98 percent of the population!
  • In secret sessions, party apparatchiks decide what is good for the people.
Today all major decisions of the Brussels elite take place in secret. What do the treaties say? All meetings should be open to the public and the press. The USSR, DDR, North Korea and the European Council are prime examples of the same fake democracy. Great company!
And what happens when the people raise their voice in a referendum? What do the Brussels politocrats do then? Well, they simply go into their councils, close the doors and tell us if the Referendum was recognized by them or not!
What THEFT!
A few dozen super-citizens go into closed session and tell four hundred million democratic voters if they are right or wrong! And then they come out and tell whopping lies. You can, like the audience of Grelling’s book, decide for yourself what is morally right and wrong.
Let’s take an example and analyze it. It shows exactly what democrats are up against. Compare what the judges in British democracy say about referendums and what the so-called guardians of European democracy in Brussels opine.
First the timing. Within a couple of hours of the first results of the UK referendum being announced — before the final published result! — on 24 June 2016, FOUR presidents of the EU (Juncker, Tusk, Schulz and Rutte) issued an official Statement saying:

“We now expect the United Kingdom government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way….”
Weren’t they efficient? Weren’t they quick? Didn’t they also shoot from the mouth a little bit too fast? Weren’t they a bit rash? Weren’t they also WRONG?
In fact the UK referendum was advisory. It was totally out of order for anyone to pronounce on the matter — least of all, Brussels.
This was obviously going be a decision affecting the destiny of 500 million citizens. Some of the presidents had not slept much that night. It would be instructive to hear their arguments that led to the press release. Would it include: “Let’s get rid of the British while we can. They are always awkward about Democracy!” Why were the public and press video cameras excluded from their early morning deliberations? Were the Four above democracy? Were they higher than UK and ECJ judges?
For all democratic Europeans this Four Presidents’ Decree is an affront to the supposed impartiality of all four institutions (Commission, European Council, Council of Ministers and Parliament). It was also legally WRONG! Do they have an excuse? NO. The four institutions are stuffed with lawyers. Many were British lawyers, knowing their Constitution.
Meanwhile in the UK the slower, surer process of law exposed the Decree, for what it was. CONSTITUTIONAL THEFT!
The High Court in its judgement on Miller vs HMG paragraph 106 said:
‘… a referendum on any topic can only be advisory for the lawmakers in Parliament unless very clear language to the contrary is used in the referendum legislation in question. No such language is used in the 2015 Referendum Act.’ The referendum imposed no mandatory action.
The UK Supreme Court in its judgement paragraphs 119 to 125 re-affirmed that the Referendum was advisory!
“(124) Thus the referendum of 2016 did not change the law in a way which would allow ministers to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union without legislation. (125) … because of the sovereignty of Parliament, referendums cannot be legally binding in the UK, and are therefore advisory. …(12th Report 2009-10, House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution). “
Did the four presidents apologize for their fierce folly? Not a word.
In Schuman’s real democracy European decisions must be agreed by governments, by regions, by duly elected economic and social committees and parliament. The UK referendum was simply reaffirming the major problem: Brussels can no longer be considered to be democratic, open, fair or just. The European Union, as distinct from the European Communities which UK citizens in 1975 approved by a large, legal referendum majority, is illegitimate. It had never been agreed by the people.
I accuse the Brussels politocrats of the THEFT of Schuman’s real democracy. They have substituted a fraud.

25 October, 2017

Why the Brexit Papers are important for Democracy

On 16 November the public could be able to read the secret documents on Brexit.
This is vitally important — not just for Britons. It is essential for European Democracy.
Brexit goes far beyond the obvious. What is obvious is that some Europeans living in UK fear that after Brexit they may be lose their jobs, their residency rights, their rights to travel freely and their health care. The big question for Europe is not about residency or social services or Ireland. Nor is it about trade.
The crux is: Who rules? Who decides on everyday matters? Do Europeans accept politicians deciding their future unaccountably behind closed doors.
The core issue is DEMOCRACY. This year politicians created a Fake News campaign about the 1957 birthday of the European Community called 60Rome. Not true! Schuman created the basis for Freedom and Democracy in 1951.
Robert Schuman announced the European Community system on 9 May 1950 as the most responsive and responsible democratic system. Instead of realizing its open, democratic potential, de Gaulle and succeeding politicians created a closed-door autocracy in the Councils.
From 1973 on British governments went along with this political corruption. It brought beef mountains, wine lakes and other scams such as airports and motorways with no traffic. Then the politicians agreed to change the European Community treaty system itself into an unaccountable European Union.
For nearly twenty years British politicians promised that these major changes to Europe’s governance in the Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice, Constitutional and Lisbon treaties would each be confirmed in a Referendum.
Many referendums were promised. None materialized.
Then in 2015 the UK government proposed a referendum, not on whether the UK people should recognize these treaties, but whether they should leave the EU on the basis of an unconfirmed, undemocratic treaty!
WHAAAAT!
That’s upside-down logic. First you have to agree to a treaty before you can apply it. The addled thinking went further after the 24 June 2016 results came out. PM Cameron resigned.
In chronic upside-down logic both the UK government said it would exit the EU. Four Brussels presidents insisted within hours of the result that an advisory referendum must be carried out immediatelyhowever painful that process may be upon 500 million citizens!
Wrong! No government is empowered to act on an advisory referendum.
The power of the government comes from the people. The people said governance is upside down here.
Think! Is a referendum a legal instrument? Is it recognized legally by Brussels and London?
If the advisory, non-binding referendum for Article 50 mandates UK government action to leave an undemocratic, overly bureaucratic EU, then a referendum must be first conducted to see if Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is valid.
If a referendum is not necessary for validating the Lisbon Treaty, then the 23 June 2016 referendum confers no powers on UK governments to leave. Any result just says: This is a stupid, illogical and unlawful procedure. The half-and-half (48.1/ 52.9%) result on 23 June says the same thing: what a silly, irresponsible government Britons have.
Brussels is also guilt of this pick-and-chose governance. When democracies voted against treaties, Brussels said the legally binding referendum NO votes did not apply.
  • Maastricht: rejected by Denmark.
  • Nice: rejected by Ireland
  • Euro: rejected by Denmark, Sweden.
  • Constitutional Treaty: rejected by France, the Netherlands
  • Referendums in other States, Czechia, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal UK were cancelled.
  • Then, contrary to all honest government, the quasi-totality of this failed and rejected Constitutional treaty was forced through by States and passed by autocratic party systems. Even the European Parliament passed it without a text being available. In fact they refused to have the text of the treaty they voted on!
The implications of lack of honesty and democracy are serious for all Europeans. If UK is leaving because the Brussels system is undemocratic or anti-democratic, will the absence of UK make it any more honest and fair? Europe will be divided by two systems, UK and EU, both with declining standards of democracy and honesty. Democracies like Switzerland, Norway, Iceland will stay clear away — for good reason! They know what a referendum means.
The European Community’s foundational principle is the Freedom of Citizens to choose. Today it is obvious that both Nation State and the Brussels system fail to colour the democratic litmus paper. All States — whether Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, national regions like Scotland and Catalonia or the smaller States — are showing the nationalistic strain as Brussels tries to impose its autocratic will against voters. Why? because the Brussels politicians refuse to implement Schuman’s design for an elected parliament and committees for economic, social and regional policy.
What do politicians and bureaucrats discuss when they close the doors on the public cameras? Are politicians more interested in their careers than how they change, reduce or eliminate citizen rights? What sort of arrangement or deals are being done about taxpayers’ money that the taxpayer knows nothing about? What sort of crackpot schemes are being envisaged that will endanger the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland?
And how on earth did democratic Europe get into this tragi-comedy or farce?
Other issues may come to light. Are the so-called negotiators really competent?
As Robert Schuman said: Government should be at the service of the people and act in agreement with the people. How can it be democratic if the people are kept in ignorance about the doings in the dark of their so-called representatives?
In August I therefore requested that the European Commission supply all the Brexit papers as they were of primary concern to the public, the press and to all individual citizens. As expected the Commission sent a registered letter on 13 September refusing any documents beyond the position papers they had already released. The Freedom of Information Regulation 1049/2001 allows an appeal to be placed. My reply was sent on 2 October. It refutes the grounds given by the Commission, maintaining that all the documents are public information. It is imperative that all documents should be disclosed.
On 24 October I received from the Commission a notice that they cannot reply on the due date to my Freedom of Information Request for the Brexit papers. They are notifying that they are applying an extension of 15 working days until 16 November under article 8 of 1049/2001.
They say:
we have not yet been able to gather all the elements we need to carry out a full analysis of your request in order to take a final decision and, therefore, we are not in a position to reply to your confirmatory request within the prescribed time limit expiring 24 October 2017.”
It appeals to Article 8.2 of the Freedom of Information Regulation to extend the deadline. This paragraph says:
8.2. In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an
application relating to a very long document or to a very large
number of documents, the time limit provided for in paragraph
1 may be extended by 15 working days, provided that the
applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are
given.
Are the Conservatives more interested in keeping their party together than real democracy? Is Brexit merely a strategy to hold a minority party in power? Are the present European institutions more interested in maintaining their closed-door system in violation of the treaties than serving citizens?
On 16 November we may get the answer.

04 October, 2017

Freedom of Information request to burst the Brexit Bubble!


Bizarre! 
Brexit is based on an advisory referendum on a bizarre question, not one that legally requires UK government action.  

Doubly bizarre!  
UK's exit from the EU is based on the Lisbon  Treaty -- a treaty that the UK refused to submit to a referendum. Ireland rejected it in a Referendum.

Triply Bizarre. The Lisbon Treaty is identical with the Constitutional Treaty that was rejected by the French and Dutch referendums. Other countries, including UK, were not allowed to have a referendum!

What on earth is going on with 'European Democracy'?? Are the 'Brexit negotiations' being conducted in the democratic interest of the European people? 

In August 2017, I wrote to the European Commission requesting under the Freedom of Information Regulation the release of all papers on Brexit. The public is being spoon-fed minute amounts of information about what is being negotiated between the European Commission and the UK Government. They are not being told WHY!

It is extremely serious for everyone's future. The style of these so-called negotiations precludes the public from understanding the main issues. Are they about trade, red tape or democratic control of a bloated, neo-Gaullist bureaucracy? Justice is far more important. The European Commission was originally called the Honest Broker of Europe. Now it calls itself the political Commission.

These negotiations hide the major issues about the lack of real democracy in Brussels and the distorted democracy that rules in the UK under the slogan, Brexit at any price

My request for Brexit information was totally refused by the Commission. Under the Freedom of Information Regulation 1049/2001 I am able to request a review by the Commission (!) of their decision to refuse information. 
The refusal gave three reasons. 1. the Commission has created a "tailor-made process of transparency" which it is applying. 2. Objections relative to the secrecy of negotiations and 3. to matters of economic and financial sensitivity.

This is my reply letter.

To the Deputy Chief Brexit Negotiator,

Dear Ms Weyand,
Many thanks for your letter of 13 September 2017 in reply to my request for all documents and working papers of the UK Brexit talks and discussions.

In accordance with Regulation 1049/2001, I am hereby asking for a review of the grounds that you give for refusing any and all papers other than position papers and agendas etc already released. I am also asking for all documents that are being currently generated as the talks proceed as a continuous process.


A. ‘Tailor made transparency’ is another term for cover-up.
1. Censorship by definition. In your reply you first state that the European Commission has adopted a “tailor-made approach to transparency.” (your bold text) That is precisely the point to which I and many others object. It is not logically or legally possible to have maximum transparency and then withhold documents by a self-serving, restriction. Tailor-making restrictions by and for Commission officials must censor and hide documents from the legal principals.

2. Against interests of free citizens. This procedure is in direct violation to the democratic principles of the Community Method, freedom of information for free citizens, as enunciated by RobertSchuman and the Founding Fathers.

3. Not authorized by principals. Who are the legal principals? Let me put it simply in the terms that the European Commission, Council and Parliament have used many times, that of a divorce. In a marital divorce, the man and the woman are free to choose their lawyers to represent their interests on the settlement in a Court before an impartial judge. A divorce case involves rights, children, property and responsibilities.

If the lawyers were corrupt and wanted to ban the man and woman from their discussions, that would clearly be unfair, not to say, illegal. If the lawyers wanted to come to a division of goods and property, sort out rights etc without a judge being present, that too would be both unjust and illegal. It would not stand up an instance once it was brought before an appeal Court. If the lawyers were more interested in what they could gain in an operation to the detriment and financial loss of the divorcing couple, that would be a dereliction of duty. It would be farcical theatre. For the couple it would involve robbery of their human rights, money and interests.

4. Denies pre-talk discovery. Robbery of facts and smothering of interests are precisely what the EU institutions and the UK government are undertaking at the moment. A tailor-made approach to transparency by biased and unauthorized officials is an instrument in illegality and cover-up. It denies discovery and analysis by the legal principals. Many areas need legal investigation before Brexit talks start and can be solidly structured.

5. Citizens’ rights are not negotiable. The couple seeking the divorce are the British and European publics. More than 500 million people are being divorced, according to the Article 50 process. It is their interests, property and rights that are at stake. Article 50 gives no authorization for secret negotiations or the censorship of documents by the Commission’s so-called ‘tailor-made approach.’ This latter method is unjust as it blocks and silences normal civil procedure. As indicated below, the public have a number of pre-negotiation (pre-trial) issues that must be clarified, before any result can be legally binding.   

6. Only open debate and open documents are acceptable. The present set-up is unacceptable and all papers must be released.


B. The EU and the UK government are not the real negotiating partners.

1. No authority has been cited to construct a ‘tailor-made’ system to censor and restrict information. The information belongs to the people.

Brexit concerns more than 500 million citizens. It does not just PRIMARILY involve the European Commission (acting for the institutions) and the Government of the United Kingdom. Both these parties have their own partisan positions which do not necessarily, and in practice, coincide with the interests of the citizens.

2. The EU institutions do not have full public confidence or trust.
For example the European Union must be concerned with its institutional interests and its practice. Much of these interests are subject to public criticism on grounds of unauthorized secrecy and the “democratic deficit”. The institutions have lost public trust continually in the way the Commission is chosen, contrary to Community law and original customary practice. The result? The turnout of the public in European Parliamentary elections has declined continuously since the post-Maastricht elections. The rise of what the Commission calls ‘nationalist’ or ‘popularist’ movements and parties indicate that the institutions are in crisis. It has lowest ratings since the early days of the European Community.

3. The UK Government, for reasons discussed below, lacks public support.
Article 50 requires that the UK fulfill all its ‘constitutional requirements’ before Brexit. This requires ensuring the rights of national regions, regional parliaments, minorities, and many other issues including the transitory arrangements for some 14,000 legal instruments by democratic means and overall economic stability. The conduct of the Referendum debate, the status of Euratom which was not mentioned in the debate, and the viability of referendums in law, are just some of the issues still raising constitutional questions. For these I would direct you to my book: Brexit and the British Vision for Europe, ISBN 9781326780869.




4. Both the so-called ‘negotiating parties’ are prejudiced against their clients, the public.
4.a The EU institutions.
The European Commission, the European Council and the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament are prejudiced and antagonistic to the UK’s remaining a member of the EU.
This lack of impartiality can be demonstrated by many statements. It would be tiresome to list them all. For example, take their reaction to the Referendum itself. It was a consultative, non-binding referendum on the question of staying in or leaving the EU (not the European Community or Euratom).
The non-binding and consultative nature of the referendum were known in advance and publicized during the Referendum campaign. The non-binding nature was later confirmed – not only in the High Court of England and Wales but in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. You can find the judgements of these two Courts of Justice, together with the presentations of the parties, in my book:  Brexit, Miller and Henry VIII. ISBN: 9781365727412. I would refer you to paragraph 105 to 108 on in the High Court judgement and paragraphs 116 on in the UK Supreme Court judgement.

It was with some shock among journalists that immediately after the first results from the 23 June 2016 Referendum, the presidents of the four EU institutions presented themselves at 10 am at the Commission Press Room to pronounce. They issued a joint statement. It said UK must leave the EU “as soon as possible, however painful that process may be.” http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/06/24-joint-statement-uk-referendum/
Yet 63 percent of British electors had either not voted or voted to remain.  The UK Government had no authority to proceed immediately. Nor had the EU institutions any right to react so negatively or absolutely to an unclear outcome.  Mr Cameron had resigned his office at 8.15 that morning! Whom were the four officials addressing? He said the UK needed ‘fresh leadership’ to deal with the non-binding referendum outcome involving a small majority, splitting the country in half and posing constitutional problems. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/24/david-cameron-resigns-after-uk-votes-to-leave-european-union
To add insult to illegality the four EU presidents in their 10 am statement insisted on a quick Brexit, regardless of the uncertain UK governmental situation and nearly a year before any Article 50 letter was received: ‘We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way.’ In fact the status of Article 50 in this regard is anything but clear.

A second example of many would be the SpitzenKandidat system. This non-treaty device was used to elect Mr Juncker – when the democratically elected British Prime Minister David Cameron had said ‘Mr Juncker is ‘the wrong man’ for the job. Who was Mr Juncker elected by? Just 382 politician/electors of 800 of the EPP. No ballot in all the EU had Mr Juncker’s name on it. No Commission ballot existed.  

The treaties say that the Commission must be impartial and hence a partisan politician is automatically ruled out by law.

A further indication of prejudice is the fact that Mr Juncker’s telephone calls could be seen as an important factor in the resignation of Mr Cameron, an elected Prime Minister. His remarks that preceded the statement of the four presidents were addressed to a country with no effective government.

4b. UK Government is a prejudicial party too.
When Mr Cameron resigned, the Conservative Party had to choose a new leader. This was not done until the autumn. Then Mrs Theresa May called a General Election. She ended up with a minority of votes in the House of Common. She hoped to be sustained by the votes of another party, the DUP of Northern Ireland. Conclusion? The public did not support her policy.
It was Mrs May who used the Conservative Party’s earlier majority to authorize her to write the Article 50 letter to Brussels. However her authority to do so was undermined by the later General Election. Critics say that her hard Brexit policy is a means only to hold the Conservative party together, and pro-Brexit faction within it, are a minority within a minority.
One of many other examples of lack of impartiality that could be cited is the UK Government’s attitude to UK citizens living on the Continent. They were not allowed to vote in the Referendum although their vital interests were involved. There is no guarantee that the present Government will act rigorously to assure these British citizens get a fair deal.
Another, even more serious indicator of undemocratic activity is that the UK governments, since the time of the Maastricht Treaty 1992 to Lisbon, have refused to organize confirmatory referendums to assure treaties’ legality. Thus the Lisbon Treaty has not been confirmed as the acting treaty by referendum. Then they acted one-sidedly and in a prejudicial, partisan way on the advisory referendum of 23 June 2016 to withdraw without reference to Parliament or public debate. Two Courts ruled against them.

5. Conclusion:  
The citizens of the UK and EU-27 are the primary parties in the dispute. They have right for the full disclosure of any and all documents involved in the Article 50 or Brexit process.
Both of the so-called negotiating parties, EU institutions and UK government, have lost public confidence in their impartiality. They do not have public trust.
Both parties have shown themselves prejudicial against public interests.
Both parties ignore calls for fairness.

No meaningful negotiation can take place for the public by parties who are not trusted by the public and who refuse to submit all working documents to the public.

The concept of censoring by a ‘tailor-made’, unauthorized committee of unnamed officials is untenable in any democracy.
Who is the ‘tailor’?
Who decides the pattern or framework for censorship?
Who is able to make the cuts?
Who is involved in stitching up a ‘package deal’ behind closed doors?
Is the pattern they are using one that suits these bodies only and does not involve substantive public issues, such as:
Why the Commission ignored previous referendums that were unfavorable to it,
Why the Lisbon Treaty is identical with the Constitutional Treaty which was rejected by referendums,
Why and how was the Lisbon Treaty and its Article 50, after being rejected by the Irish in a Referendum, mysteriously deemed legal with no public discussion?
What is the status of nuclear proliferation security under Euratom? Euratom has its article 208 which forbids exit for these very reasons.

A ‘tailor-made’ deal is for the public nothing more than a cover-up.

The public is PRIMARILY the main party in the dispute – called a divorce. They have the Primary Right to the documents about what is being discussed either for their enhanced rights in the Community system or against those existing rights to minimize or reduce them. The public and all concerned citizens have the right to have the information about the talks, either directly by video link or have all the working documents plus the position papers.

The two other parties, the EU institutions and the UK government, may not like this. They might wish to carve up in private mutually acceptable positions to the prejudice of the public. They may wish to tailor the information flow to make this easier for them to manage the information and control the PR. That is not the point.  They have no right or legal authority to do so.

The public rights include safeguarding their right to information against any closed door corruption.

This transparency issue goes far beyond the stipulations of the treaties which say that all matters must be treated as openly as possible. The EU institutions must understand that ‘open’ in this case means open to video cameras and public analysis.

The issue goes beyond all the treaties because it is about the right of free people to have free information about their destiny and how others who call themselves representatives are manipulating information to the detriment of elementary rights of Freedom.

THIS IS NOT A SMALL MATTER OF A MINOR COMMITTEE WHERE OFFICIALS WITHOLD DOCUMENTS. IT INVOLVES – AS ROBERT SCHUMAN SAID ON 9 MAY 1950 – THE DEMOCRATIC DESTINY OF THE EUROPEAN CONTINENT.


C. Riposte to other exception clauses
1. Article 4.3 of Regulation 1049/2001.

You write that the disclosure of working documents and internal minutes is prevented by the exception to the right of access laid down in Article 4(3) (protection of the decision-making process).

This reads: 4.3. Access to a document, drawn up by an institution for internal use or received by an institution, which relates to a matter where the decision has not been taken by the institution, shall be refused if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.

The exception of Article 4.3 about this ‘negotiating process’ that you mention is null and void for the reasons detailed above and below. The subject of rights being curtailed in secret excludes its use. The first part of the talks is about ‘divorce’. It deals with the rights of citizens. Only after the divorce can trade matters be discussed.
A fundamental democratic right is to be informed. This is an absolute right. It is recognized by representative governments. Freedom to Information is not doled out by democratic governments, only autocracies. Government is obliged by the people to recognize their right to information. (Article 10 of the Convention of Human Rights, articles 8-11 of the EU Charter).
The so-called negotiating parties have no right to limit this information. Nor is it the function of the EU or government to decide how much information about changing citizen rights it will deign to release to the public. It is the public that judges the EU and the governments about whether they are remiss or not in their functions of civil servants.
Neither the EU Institutions nor the Government of the UK has the full and undivided support of the British or European public. They cannot act fully in its name.
 It is therefore of major importance and overriding interest of the public to have all information being discussed. Otherwise the public will be faced with a negotiated fait accompli from two groups of officials that lack public confidence. They will therefore be faced with the option to take further legal action for the dereliction of duty of the two groups involved.

2. Climate of public trust has already been lost
You say that the ‘negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union requires a climate of mutual trust between both sides.  But neither side has the full trust of the public. There is concern at what is NOT being discussed, excluded by mutual agreement of the EU and UK government against the public.
Whatever the outcome, trust has already been the first casualty. The public cannot properly judge the value of a pig in a poke. That is what in effect the ‘negotiations’ are between two parties that lack public trust. Citizens cannot see what is supposedly being done in their name, and without their acquiescence.  

3. The three areas of talks require openness, not secrecy
The three areas of the present discussion have been defined without public intervention. But as they stand they are all matters that require openness: rights of residence and social security, the Irish single market and travel area and the accountancy of the amounts the UK will pay to settle up its bills and commitments.
The latter is purely an accountancy problem based on legal obligations. The money involved is tax-payers’ money. The final figures and the discussion should be without dispute by anyone, as much as a tax bill of an individual or a company should be fixed and settled by accountancy principles. There is therefore no reason to apply Article 4.3 to any of the main areas defined for the divorce discussions.  
There are a number of other areas such as Euratom, JET and generally governance issues that cannot be restricted by article 4.3. They are issues were the legislation has to be continued beyond Brexit. Public ventilation of the issues is to the advantage of all. It will avoid a slew of Court cases if the ‘negotiators’ get it wrong.


4. Objections under Article 4.1

You say that ‘disclosure of documents is ‘prevented by … Article 4 (1)(a), fourth indent (protection of the financial, monetary or economic policy of the Union or a Member State) and Article 4(1) (b) (protection of the privacy and the integrity of the individuals).’

This article reads:
4.1. The institutions shall refuse access to a document where
disclosure would undermine the protection of:
(a) the public interest as regards:
— public security,
— defence and military matters,
— international relations,
— the financial, monetary or economic policy of the
Community or a Member State;
(b) privacy and the integrity of the individual, in particular in accordance with Community legislation regarding the protection of personal data.

The same counter-arguments apply to dismiss the claim. None of these restrictions apply to universal rights and privileges of UK citizens and EU-27 citizens. They do not involve individuals whose data has to be protected. The money involved is tax-payers’ money.  That alone removes the requirement of secrecy.
The request is about the divorce proceedings not the negotiations afterwards about a new commercial partnership and a new trading relationship.  The subjects being discussed at the moment are:
·         Residential and social rights of EU-27 citizens in the UK and UK citizens in EU27.
·         Irish border, single market problems,
·         Financial payments.

  There are several other issues of equal or greater importance that the negotiating parties have refused to deal with. That underlines the dangers for the citizens of leaving the EU and the UK government the sole right to define what the issues for the citizens really are. So far the experiment has failed. The dangers for the citizen and future democratic standards both for the UK and the EU have been increased.

The objection raised is trying to confound the two phases. The first phase must have open discussion and open paper work.

A tailor-made restriction on documents is by definition a cover-up. I urgently demand that a review of the Commission’s policy be made. All documents relevant to Brexit must be released and negotiations held in a way that satisfies open democracy, worthy of European democratic institutions.

Yours sincerely,

David H Price

  

27 September, 2017

1. Did PM May's Florence Speech shock more than the Pigeons?

Why did Prime Minister Theresa May fly all the way to Italy to shoo the pigeons? Why did she speak briefly in what was a few days earlier an empty and dusty, abandoned room? It was indistinguishable from any other. It was allegedly inhabited only by pigeons.

Did she come only to ask for a two-year transition, an idea, she said, that was already written in the treaty? Was there an unspoken message in the place, not the speech? The British taxpayer might also ask:
‘Why on earth did the Prime Minister and Members of her Cabinet fly all the way to Italy to give a speech? And then getting back in the plane and winging it back to London?’


Isn’t this a huge waste of money? Prime Minister Theresa May had returned to London from the United Nations on Thursday, 21 September, accompanied by her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. They had plenty of time to talk.

The next day, Mrs May could have given the speech in any city of the United Kingdom. Why, then, did she take to the skies again? What justifies the cost (and inconvenience for journalists and the public)? Her office confirmed that the British taxpayer will have to pay for this foreign excursion.

Would people hear what she said more clearly from afar? Her television audience did not even see the historical backdrop. The British brought their own back panels so there was no telling what was behind the slogan: Shared History, Shared Challenges, Shared Future.

Both Theresa May and her pro-European husband Philip are savvy. Theresa studied Geography at Oxford, Philip studied Modern History. He was president of its renowned debating association, the Oxford Union. Both are practicing Christians.

Why not go to Rome and attack the false propaganda of the Brussels elite? Four Brussels Top Politicians on the morning after UK’s non-binding, advisory EU referendum of 23 June 2016 said UK had better leave soon, “as quickly as possible however much it may hurt.”
 
They were the people who had previously excluded the UK from ever having a candidate as President of the European Commission. They called it the SpitzenKandidat system. It was unveiled in the so-called Constitutional Treaty. But the Constitutional Treaty failed miserably, rejected by the French and Dutch referendums. The referendums in UK and five others were cancelled. They would give further Noes. So, without further referendums and scorning public rejection, politicians added the entire treaty to the Common Market Treaty of Rome, lock, stock and barrel. It was renamed the Lisbon Treaty. To do this they spent millions of tax-euros to create a big lie. They said European integration began in 1957 with the Common Market and the Treaty of Rome.

Mrs May could have said;
“What nonsense and waste! European unity began with the Schuman Declaration of 1950 and the European Community of Coal and Steel. We British should know. We were Associate Members of the Community in 1952. We passed an Act of Parliament to do so.”
Why pick a small room in Florence in the Santa Maria Novella? Why not, for example, the European University Institute? Prime Ministers often address universities.


The EUI was founded by an article in the Euratom Treaty , also signed in Rome1957. This year is its 60th anniversary. It could have been a special occasion to celebrate this. The EU has made a huge fuss about celebrating one of the two 1957 Treaties of Rome. It quite falsely spent huge amounts of taxpayers money saying that the Common Market or the Economic Community was the origin of the European Union. They wiped out all the years from the end of WW2 until 1957 as irrelevant. Just like the Stalin wiped out the image of personalities he had sent to the Gulag or worse.

A big speech at the EUI would have made a good opportunity to rectify Brussels propaganda and its atrocious Fake News on democracy.

The EUI, situated at a famous Medici Fiesole Abbey, had previously held a series of lectures on Brexit. Besides being the legal depository of EU archives, it has highly regarded departments in European Law (Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies) global governance and European civilization.

But NO, it was not to be a university lecture. What was it then? Clearly Florence has some huge significance that justifies the travel cost. British insistence offsets the lack of an invitation from either the Italian Government or the city. Why breach normal diplomatic practice?

Did Mrs May want to make a particularly British statement? She could have chosen the British Institute in Florence on the river Arno. Earlier this year, Prince Charles helped celebrate its 100th anniversary. Its Acton library contains one of the largest collections of English books on the Continent. Founded during the First World War, the Institute has provided an open British window on the world.

What did PM May say to explain and justify this expense and rupture of custom? She began her speech — without anyone welcoming or introducing her — by saying:
“It’s good to be here in this great city of Florence today at a critical time in the evolution of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union. It was here, more than anywhere else, that the Renaissance began –
  • a period of history that inspired centuries of creativity and critical thought across our continent and which in many ways defined what it meant to be European.
  • A period of history whose example shaped the modern world.
  • A period of history that teaches us that when we come together in a spirit of ambition and innovation, we have it within ourselves to do great things.”
“To do great things” together sounds like a forecast. Yet it was not uttered on the hills of Fiesole where in Roman times the College of the Augures, pagan experts in divination, foretold the reactions of their gods. Mrs May’s message was about Renaissance.

So, which building did Mrs May choose from Florence’s rich history? Not the Uffizi Art Gallery. No, Prime Minister May and her ministers chose the former police academy! It had to be spruced up to accommodate the British speechifying. Why, this building?

The Scuola Sottufficale Carabinieri is no ordinary building. It belongs to the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella convent. It dates from around 1200s as a basilica. It forms a central position in the history of both western and eastern Europe and the rise of for technology of the last five centuries.

What then was the historic and geographic message that Prime Minister Theresa May was communicating by her extraordinary flight to Florence?

Why did she visit this building?
What has this man to do with it?