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 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.
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.