Increasing Disillusionment with the European Union
The relentless progress of the European Union towards federalism received
a setback from the "No" vote in the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Nice. The
Scotsman reports that Guy Verhofstadt, premier of Belgium (which has assumed
the presidency of this Rome-inspired confederacy) said that the vote had plunged
the EU into an "identity crisis"; it confirmed the popular image of bureaucrats
living in an ivory tower remote from the concerns of the public.
An EU-wide poll indicates that a large majority of people do feel ill-informed
about the EU's expansion. The Straits Times of Singapore comments: "Coming
so soon after the surprise rejection of the Treaty of Nice by Irish voters
. . . the Eurobarometer poll indicates a serious gap in thinking between the
political leadership and the public. . . . Politicians are accused of making
decisions behind closed doors and there is still widespread scepticism about
an organisation perceived as having ever-increasing powers to intrude into
people's daily lives."
The report also states that until the Irish vote, ratification of the treaty
was widely regarded as necessary before the EU could enlarge; but, since then,
there has been confusion about how to move ahead. But we believe that the setback
is more apparent than real, and that EU power is set to advance further. The
Scotsman says that the Belgian presidency, as part of its proposals for
the future of Europe, "believes the EU would be made more transparent if it
was given power to raise its own funding direct from taxpayers across the Continent".
Of course the Papacy is at the forefront of pushing forward the EU expansion
programme. (See, for example, the Pope's remarks on his visit to Ukraine, reported
on page 252.) For this reason alone there is cause for deep concern, but let
us look to the One who rules over all nations. "Say ye not, A confederacy,
to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their
fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your
fear, and let Him be your dread" (Is 8:12).
The Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker Bowles
The Prince of Wales has given his strongest hint yet that he may one day marry
Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles, states The Times of London. The report continues, "Asked
directly if he plans to remarry, the Prince replies elliptically: 'Will I be
alive tomorrow? Who knows what the Good Lord has planned. You can't be certain
about anything. I don't know.'"
The public face of the relationship between the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles
has been cleverly stage-managed and, it seems, they have been so buoyed by
public support that he has shifted away from his stock answer that he has no
intention to remarry. The prospect of marriage has been played down by the
Prince's officials because it would raise questions over a future Queen Camilla,
particularly with the Church of England. However, Church sources in their typically
wooly responses indicate some sympathy with the Prince. They also hint at changes
in the Church's stance on remarriage of divorcees.
It is a measure of the tremendous decline in the morality of our nation that
this sinful relationship is condoned in Church and state, and among the people
generally. It cannot be atoned for by marriage - even if that is their desire.
The Prince of Wales may imply by his statement that the Lord may have planned
that they marry, but while God has "foreordained whatsoever comes to pass",
His Word asserts (in Hebrews 13:4) that He will judge adulterers.
Another Move Toward Legalising Cannabis
Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet minister, is the first leading Conservative
to make the case for decriminalising soft drugs. He wants cannabis to be legalised,
and sold through government-licensed outlets. Writing in The Daily Telegraph,
he urges the candidates for the Tory leadership to adopt reform of the drug
laws which, he says, are unenforceable and indefensible in a country where
alcohol and nicotine are legal.
As for the health risks, he dismisses them as either bogus or exaggerated.
We find this very strange, to say the least, when less than a year ago the
then Home Secretary stated, presumably on well-supported evidence, that the
drug can have very severe short-term and long-term effects. "The long-term
effects," he said, "include a very severe exacerbation of mental illness, and
also include cancer. It is reckoned that cannabis is between two and four times
as carcinogenic as tobacco."
Mr Lilley also argues that only a small proportion of cannabis users move
on to hard drugs. This, however, does not overturn the fact that the majority
of users of other drugs have started with cannabis. It is disturbing that a
prominent politician should be attempting to make it easier for the rising
generation to misuse what is very clearly harmful, although it is possible
that cannabis derivatives may be discovered which will alleviate pain.