Friday, September 07, 2018

THE SELMAYR SCANDAL: Straight and Crooked Law

'I'm a very qualified lawyer, that's why I feel very confident. The European Commission has broken no laws.' That was Mr Selmayr's response when doorstepped by the Daily Mail about his controversial nine-minute double promotion on 21 February this year, first to deputy Secretary-General of the European Commission, then to Secretary-General.

Selmayr is almost certainly right correct, but I shall come to his point later.

Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld  - featured in Daily Mail and Daily Express online editions - may splutter -

- but it merely shows that many who work inside the EU system do not understand how it operates, and to what end. They think that the EU stands for justice, brotherhood, democracy, openness and so on and expect its governance to reflect their illusions. One day it may; but not now.

The European Union is about power - not because its intentions are evil, but because it is trying to bind together very different countries into a single State. Such a project cannot succeed in a factious democracy. So in the European Union directives and legislation come from above and their Parliament is largely a talking shop and rubber stamping operation.

In some ways it is like Germany in 1871. Prussia - the permanent leader of the federation - centred power on the Kaiser, with the aristocratic Herrenhaus naturally inclined to support him. Representation in the lower chamber or Landtag was skewed towards economic power: one-third of seats went to representatives of the very richest and another to the middle-class; the last third gave a feeble voice to the masses - 82.6% of the population in 1849. Bills were proposed by the Kaiser - or, if it suited his purposes, not proposed; but certainly not by the commoners. The Constitution of Germany was, said Wilhelm Liebknecht, "eine fürstliche Versicherungsanstalt gegen die Demokratie" - a princely company providing insurance against democracy.

The EU manages its people in a similarly autocratic manner, and the chart below shows the flows of its power - and the source of its proposals:

As with Newton's Third Law, antidemocratic force creates democratic reaction. The semi-suppression of the people fostered the development of the German Social Democrats; when the old German order fell apart in 1918 the new Weimar Constitution addressed the unfairness of the voting arrangements with a system of proportional representation. It was a disastrous solution: little could be decided among the squabbling factions, so that by 1933 the Chancellor could seize control in an "emergency" - tragically undefined by the Constitution and therefore open to his own judgment.

We are now seeing similar tensions between centre and periphery in the EU. If matters cannot be rectified within the system, it will ultimately face extra-systemic reactions and possibly end in tyranny, as the organisation seeks to preserve its existence.

Martin Selmayr is a lawyer; in German, a "Rechtsanwalt" - an authority, a manager, an advocate in law. The German for law is "Gerecht", its root "recht" or in English, "right." The soul of law is a sense of what is right (whose opposite is "wrong", a word rooted in the notion of twisting, like other "wr-" formations - wrist, wring, wry etc).

But law is also law as arbitrarily issued by the ruler ("le Roi re veult"), law that is written down and codified, law as procedure. So, technically, Selmayr's promotions by Junker (ratified by Commissioners attentive to their own advantage) were allowable within the letter of the EU's law; but not right, not straight.

Yet those rules have been fashioned for a purpose, one quite alien to the British sense of what is right, and also (it seems) coming as a surprise to some others in the EU who have misunderstood the destination to which they are heading. It is a rough and crooked road, leading to the termination of government by (and possibly one day, also of government for) the people.

Whereas the EU Constitution, like Prussia's, was designed to give power to the executive, the British Constitution - learning from centuries of bloody internal conflict - has evolved to restrain it. This is why we should leave the Union and should never have joined it in the first place: there is a total incompatibility between our respective political philosophies and habits.

Did Macmillan, Heath and the other conspirators who manoeuvred us into this federation not understand?


A K Haart said...

Excellent. I don't think we will ever know the answer to your final question though.

Sackerson said...

AKH: Thanks. Bet you there's info in the archives.

Sackerson said...

JD comments:

You mention there "law that is written down" but what is overlooked is that the EU does not have a common language. Following our previous conversation, I see a translation problem. In my time dealing with construction contracts in more than one language there is always a clause specifying the 'ruling language' of the contract in case of disagreements. So how does that work in EU law?*

There is also interpretation based on either the 'letter of the law' or the 'spirit of the law' the first of those producing quasi religious inflexible dogma and the second of those rooted in common sense; 'what did the two parties [to the contract] intend?' There is a huge difference between those two interpretations. The letter of the law is the basis of the Napoleonic Code and is effectively unworkable unless everyone obeys the law. The idiot Blair imposed EU law onto English Law with disastrous results cf the case against Steve Thorburn.

The Government has been fannying around for more than two years when all that is necessary is to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and that cuts the ties with the EU after which it becomes their problem, not ours!

"The EC Treaty was unlike others in creating a new and unique legal order which was supreme above the legal systems of the member states. On accession under the 1972 Act, the United Kingdom bowed its head to that supremacy. The 1972 Act was a constitutional Act, and at common law could only be repealed by express provision. All specific rights and obligations created by European Law were incorporated into domestic law and ranked supreme by the 1972 Act, which was a constitutional statute, and could not be impliedly repealed. That the 1972 Act was a constitutional statute was derived from common law which recognised such a category. The fundamental legal basis of the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU rested with the domestic, not the European legal powers."

*Ed.: "The EU has 24 official languages, of which three (English, French and German) have the higher status of "procedural" languages of the European Commission (whereas the European Parliament accepts all official languages as working languages)."-

Paddington said...

The opposite of right (adroite) is also left (gauche, sinister).

Our Romance languages carry favour for right-handers which still persists today and do not forget that sitting at the right hand is a more important position.

As for the left, the samurai killed their left-handed children. We even had an instructor tell a left-handed student that they had no soul.

Sackerson said...

@Paddington: Oo-er to the last two. Was the instructor Japanese?

Paddington said...

No. Fundamentalist Christian.