Telegraph columnist blames Europe for Equal Marriage


by Tim Fenton    
7:24 pm - February 10th 2013

      Share on Tumblr

You have to hand it to the Telegraph’s Christopher Booker. He is so obsessed with the EU that there are no ends he will not go to to pretend that something that happens in one or two member states is part of a vast conspiracy that causes all laws to be handed down from that well-known marauding spaceship otherwise known as Brussels.

Booker’s latest attempt to see the hand of the EU behind every conceivable piece of legislation concerns same-sex marriage (SSM). He tells that there has not just been argument about SSM legislation in the UK, but also in France: “why, just as it was provoking the biggest Tory rebellion in decades, was it also prompting a similar row in the French National Assembly?” he queries.

The straightforward answer is that it wasn’t: the French had voted on it, approving the measure by 249 to 97, the previous week.

But this does not deter Booker, who asserts that all EU member states are going to have to fall into line by the middle of 2013, which would be interesting to see, because there is no way that this is going to happen: there won’t even be a majority by that time.

Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have passed SSM law previously. The UK and France are passing it. Finland and Luxembourg may also do so in the near future. That makes just ten member states out of 27, and as eagle-eyed Euro watchers may have already noticed, the ten do not include Germany (or Italy, or any of the former Warsaw Pact countries).

Moreover, Booker keeps on citing the Council of Europe (CoE), but this body is totally separate from the EU, and is unable to make law. But he includes a CoE measure to “combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity” as part of his chain of supposed proof. Then the ECHR is asserted to be ready to make SSM a “human right”. If everyone passes legislation, that is.

But not every member state of either the CoE, or the EU, has done so. So Booker’s talk of “shadowy bodies” allegedly “ruling our lives” is more of his obsessional drivel speak.

Goodness only knows why the Telegraph bungs him good money to churn it out. Best get it while you can, Chris.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Tim is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He blogs more frequently at Zelo Street
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Europe ,Foreign affairs ,Media ,News


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


I’m disappointed by this article. The twitter link said he was blaming EE – I was waiting to see how 4G coverage played a part in the marriage debate!

2. Richard Carey

He doesn’t mention the EU once. Don’t you know the difference between the Council of Europe and the EU?

@2

The number of things you don’t know the difference between I’d keep Schtum if I were you.

I guess South Africa, Argentina , many States of the USA and Canada also are being pushed by the Council Of Europe. Hmmm. Then we can look at other South American countries who are also looking at SSM and just see that it is something that we as a population are quite tolerant with in the western world.
If Chris Booker doesn’t like it then he can always look at Russia and Middle Eastern countries and many African countries for anti SSM ideas.

By his own account, Booker seems to have described a process that hasn’t been “aided” by any “shadowy European bodies” despite his complaints. Here are the people and bodies he claims to have been “behind this drama”:
Theresa May – British
Lynne Featherstone – British
Council of Europe – with Britain at the helm, and didn’t force the issue
European Court of Human Rights – which didn’t force the issue, in fact it said gay marriage isn’t a human right yet
the Tory party – British
the Lib Dem party – British
a campaign group, Equal Love – British AFAIK

Booker’s critics are wrong that the Council of Europe is entirely distinct from the EU; membership of the former, with everything that that entails, is a condition of membership of the latter. But the idea of this thing’s being imposed even on, say, Poland, or Malta, or currently topical Romania and Bulgaria, is absurd enough.

Yet that is without mentioning that the Council of Europe’s members include Andorra under a Co-Prince who is a Catholic bishop, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein under Prince Alois and effectively also under Archbishop Haas, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. Booker and his supporters should top trying to let Cameron off the hook.

No wonder that in this week’s Spectator Diary, in between brilliant demolitions of this scheme, Piers Paul Read articulates British paleoconservatives’ consistent minority, intensely Catholic position in favour of European federalism. Those same pages have in their time carried it in the words of Stuart Reid, of Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, and of the late Auberon Waugh.

As Stuart once put it to me, “At least the EU’s atheism is Catholic atheism.” A people which is determined not to reproduce itself is doomed to be replaced by someone, and we may as well be replaced by the Romanians and the Bulgarians, not least considering the alternatives. But what that minority of the Highest of High Tories seeks is simply not on offer. It never has been. It never will be.

Not that I do not necessarily wish that it were. Armed with Catholic Social Teaching, that really would have been a bulwark against Thatcherism and neoliberalism, just as it would now be a bulwark against the ultimate Thatcherite and neoliberal privatisation of a socially vital institution, as also against the EU’s increasing militarisation and against the neoconservative wars in which some member-states have participated while most have not, or have done so only very rarely.

Even now, each of the member-states of the EU ought to nominate for life one guardian of the religious and spiritual roots of its culture and polity as embodied by its single largest community of the observant, and one guardian of the secular and humanist roots. In the United Kingdom, lest there be any doubt, that religious community would be the Catholic Church.

In addition, each of the so-called Europarties, one of which has Daniel Hannan as its Secretary-General before anyone starts, ought to nominate for a non-renewable 10-year term one guardian of the religious and spiritual roots of its ideology and support, and one guardian of the secular and humanist roots.

Nothing requiring a Qualified Majority could proceed to the Council of Ministers without the prior approval of the simple majority in each of the four categories of guardian: nominated by the member-states, nominated by the Europarties, guarding religious and spiritual values, and guarding secular and humanist values. Nothing requiring unanimity could proceed without the prior approval of all four of the two-thirds majorities.

Nothing requiring a Treaty change could proceed to the European Council without the approval of all four of the three-quarters majorities. No ruling of the European Court of Justice could have effect, nor could any ruling of the European Court of Human Rights have effect within the EU, unless ratified by all four of the simple majorities.

In this age of electronic communication, costs would be minimal.

5/ukliberty: And what do all those British things have in common? They’re in the EU!

His next article will be on the EU conspiracy by Farage to throw Britain out of the EU by having all the EU citizens in Britain vote for it.

5/ukliberty: And what do all those British things have in common? They’re in the EU!

Doh! I didn’t think of that – he’s right isn’t he?

@Tim F OP:

It pains me to have to say this – but Richard C at #2 is absolutely right. Booker, wrong though he is as a general principle, accuses the EU of nothing.

“As Stuart once put it to me, “At least the EU’s atheism is Catholic atheism.””

“Armed with Catholic Social Teaching, that really would have been a bulwark against Thatcherism and neoliberalism,”

“its single largest community of the observant, and one guardian of the secular and humanist roots. In the United Kingdom, lest there be any doubt, that religious community would be the Catholic Church.”

You’ve never really come to terms with the fact that a Reformation happened in this country over four centuries ago and that since then ‘Catholicism’ has meant to most British people either nothing at all or something they don’t much want.

You keep making this erroroneous assumption that deep down, everyone secretly agrees with you, wishes they were from Durham etc. In fact, most of the few people who have ever heard of you think you’re a ridiculous, pompous, delusional, crypto-fascist.

since then ‘Catholicism’ has meant to most British people either nothing at all or something they don’t much want

Single largest religious organisation in the United Kingdom, in each of its four constituent parts, and in at least six of the nine English regions. Including London, where I suspect that you are.

The present Labour Leadership is so interested in Catholic Social Teaching that there has been at least one entire Radio Four documentary on it. The Head of the Policy Review is a practising Catholic.

12. Richard Carey

@ 9

Thanks Robin. That must have hurt :)

1. “since then ‘Catholicism’ has meant to most British people either nothing at all or something they don’t much want”

2. “Single largest religious organisation in the United Kingdom, in each of its four constituent parts, and in at least six of the nine English regions.”

Even if all of (2) is true, it doesn’t negate any of (1). most people in britain either don’t know about or don’t care for Catholicism. I get that you do, but you are not most people.

“The Head of the Policy Review is a practising Catholic.”

Wow. Big deal.

“Including London, where I suspect that you are.”

You suspect wrongly. I have never lived in that shithole, or near it, and never intend to. There are places in Britain outside of Durham that are not London, believe it or not. I lived half of my life in one such place, hundreds of miles to the NORTH of Durham, so do drop the northern schtick, it’s tedious. You don’t get special marks for being from the north of England.

Goodness only knows why the Telegraph bungs him good money to churn it out.

Oh, that’s easy – it sells.

Tim @ OP:

“The straightforward answer is that it wasn’t: the French had voted on it, approving the measure by 249 to 97, the previous week.”

Nit-picking. “Just as it was” can have a fairly wide range of temporal reference depending on the context.

Sounds a bit like Mrs. Carberry in “Father Ted” :-

“I don’t care who he gets as long as I can have a go at the Greeks. They invented gayness!”

Sounds like Mrs Carberry in “Father Ted” :-

“I don’t care who he gets as long as I can have a go at the Greeks. They invented gayness!”


Reactions: Twitter, blogs




Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.