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Clause 2 — Addition to list of treaties

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 9:00 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Bill Cash Bill Cash Conservative, Stone 9:00 pm, 5th February 2008

My hon. Friend is completely right; this is an evolving dynamic. New rights are being created by these provisions, although that is denied by the Government. Every time the European Union accumulates functions, it claims that this does not involve the creation of new rights. In 1972, we agreed to go into a thing called the European Community, but the accumulation of functions since then has changed the dynamic. Similarly, if one were to have spoken about the need for democratic reform in 1848, it would not have been the same as talking about democracy in 1888, 1928 or 1948. To go back to my earlier analogy about the atom, we have now started to move into a quark-like environment in which we are actually going backwards. Our democracy is being devoured in this new virtual reality that is being created. People need to think hard about this.

In our earlier debate, Mr. MacShane was talking about the great 19th century reformers. I do not want to make a big issue of it, but it so happens that one member of my family, John Bright, fought tenaciously and successfully for the right of the man in the street to have the vote. Every single person in the country would support that now, but there was huge resistance to it in those days. Those rights were established within the then Liberal party—not this completely vacuous, insipid abstraction called the Liberal Democrat party today—which, in those days, actually fought for people's rights. People now talk about rights but they do not act to achieve them. That is the problem.