I found the book totally absorbing with its clear explanation of this extremely important and complex subject that is usually confused by coded Euro-speak. Such a well written and researched work leading to compelling conclusions is a pleasure to read and revisit.
The results of the recent Referendums in France and The Netherlands in conjunction with subsequent events show how sound the authors are in their analyses and arguments. Some people may be confused by the odd reactions of the political elite of the European Union to the 'No' votes. This book explains the origins and culture of the EU which makes it easier to understand the detachment of the Euro elite from the norms of democracy.
Having read university law degree modules on UK and EC constitutional law I was intrigued by a paradox. The general lack of knowledge and discussion of the development of the EU exists in spite of the fact that it increasingly controls our lives standing in place of many of the previous functions of the UK Parliament. But the British people have not been consulted in a Referendum since 1975. How can this be in a liberal democracy?
Furthermore, anyone who criticises the EU seems generally to be labelled 'Eurosceptic' which implies the critic is innately biased against European people (xenophobic even) and is incapable of forming a balanced and objective opinion. This strategy seems designed to prevent open debate and, if so, it has been extremely successful. But, why are discussion and dissent so discouraged in a liberal democracy?
'The Great Deception' fills a void in current public literature on the subject by explaining how the EU has evolved by stealth and the unswerving dedication of its original founders: Arthur Salter and Jean Monnet. Democracy was distrusted and politicians were despised. The ingenious solution was to devise a self perpetuating secretive supranational bureaucracy that would construct the United States of Europe by slowly acquiring powers from the nation states by a process of osmosis. Bureaucrats would lead the way.
Exactly what the goal is eludes definition as the 'European project' is a path to the United States of Europe which is constantly reinvented when it meets resistance and is protected by myths and metamorphosis. The "Monnet method" eschews public discussion that would inconveniently lead to seeking a democratic mandate; referendums so often go wrong.
The book explains how the façade of democracy hides the activities of the law making process in the EU. The unelected Commission has the exclusive right to initiate new laws - which is a key to development control. It is supported by the powerful bureaucratic 'high priests' of the Committee of the Permanent Representatives (Coreper) who organise the highly complex process of drafting and promoting new legislation. The proposed new laws are often little understood by others including ministers and the parliaments of nation states. Indeed, the UK House of Commons Committee that decides what EU legislation can be discussed by MPs even meets in secret.
A senior Government Minister tells us that the Constitutional Treaty is "Just a tidying up exercise". If that is the case, the result of the Referendums in France and The Netherlands can be interpreted as rejecting the current consolidated EU Treaties as they stand. But, yet the discredited and unaccountable organisation goes on regardless - business as usual. The book will assist in understanding this strange phenomenon.
The long and awkward gestation of the EU is charted with its successes and failures described in some depth and detail. The Chapter on 'Why de Gaulle Kept Britain Out' is illuminating and the Chapter on 'The Real Deceit of Edward Heath' is profoundly shocking. The trials and tribulations of Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair are depicted in colourful detail that I found fascinating and informative. I had always been perplexed by some EU related events and this book painted in many missing parts of the picture for me.
I would recommend this book to everyone and in particular to the so called Euro-philes who may find it a blinding light on the road to a better balanced understanding. It certainly should be placed in every public library and place of learning in order to give everyone an opportunity to discover how they are governed. If there is a text which puts forward the contrary view with such cogent clarity I would like to see it on the shelf too but most Euro-philes seem oddly silent.