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3 August 2006 Edition

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Book reviews

Book reviews

The Great Deception - Can the European Union Survive?

By Christopher Booker and Richard North. 

Continuum Publishers.

Price €15/£10stg

This is the story of a con. It's the sordid tale of a political pyramid scheme started by Germany and France, who over 50 years have recruited, cajoled and groomed another 23 nations into their club.

For the past 50 years the European project has sold itself as a well-meaning, noble and benign initiative to avoid another European war by using free market approaches to create economic interdependence between nation states.

The authors systematically and forensically deconstruct this lie.

By mining through thousands of documents, interviews, press statements, policy briefs, parliamentary speeches and declassified State papers Christopher Booker and Richard North set out a convincing case that supports the title of their book.

Starting as far back as 1922 an Austrian diplomat and politician Count Coudenhove argued for a "United States of Europe". His book on the subject 'Pan Europa' attracted support and admiration from many of Europe's leading intellectual and cultural figures, including Picasso, Einstein, Freud, Thomas Mann and Paul Valery. Crucially politicians including the French Foreign Minister Aristide Briand and emerging talents in Germany such as Conrad Adenauer, later to serve as Chancellor in post-war West Germany, were hooked with the promise of a federal power to rival that of the USA.

Post WWII and the Europhiles, with US government support, made their move. De Gaulle's international trouble shooter, and CIA client, Jean Monnet, with Belgian Foreign Minister Paul- Henri Spaak easily sold the peace insurance concept of the European Coal and Steel Community to the traumatised citizenry of the Benelux, Germany, France and Italy.

Their interpretation of this first victory was misplaced only four years later. The French parliament rejected a European Army and Defence Community in 1954. In precise detail the authors document how, after that rejection, a conscious decision was made by the Europhiles to mask their true intentions. Never again would they overtly challenge the parliaments of Europe by being honest. A misleading lexicon of engrénage, directives, competences, subsidarity was introduced; decision-making processes and negotiations so complex, labyrinthine and dull ensured that the media and European citizenry rarely followed or understood events taking place in Brussels, Strasbourg or any number of small provincial towns that the Foreign and Prime Ministers of Europe would meet in.

Two stories unfold in this book. One is of the hiccupped progress of the construction of a United States of Europe, the other of Britain and its place in Europe.

The Gaul and Teuton alliance's greatest scalp has been Britain despite successive Prime Ministers and Governments believing that, with the 'brilliance' of their civil servants, they out-negotiate the continentals. Charted in detail is Britain's EEC entry negotiation and how in eight years from 1961 De Gaulle blocked the British application. British civil servants and politicians at the time imagined that De Gaulle was wary of Britain's power and prestige, as was privately alluded in the diplomatic world gossip by the French. The authors reveal the real reason was to ensure that the Common Agricultural Policy was written in a way that meant Britain was obliged to open up its domestic markets to French produce plus subsidise French farmers for flooding the British market with their excess produce.

It was all too late when Ted Heath came to the conclusion that they had their sovereignty eroded, key industries destroyed and an ever increasing bill to pay for the privilege of membership.

British politicians from Macmillan to Heath, Thatcher and Blair have all engaged the European elite on the basis of their 'intellectual superiority', the assurance of empire and the inevitability of victory and repeatedly come out worse.

The book touches on the fiasco of the Common Fisheries Policy and only then on the catastrophic impact it had on the British fishing industry. Ireland only gets mentioned in passing, and as a state that meekly followed the pro-European line.

The timing of this, updated book, is fortunate when all over Europe the political leaders are trying to give the kiss of life to the dead European Constitution. Lately these leaders are suggesting that it is not actually a constitution after all, merely a document to tidy up previous treaties and aren't we silly old voters for getting too worked up.

The Great Deception is a must read for those who feel distinctly uneasy about the theft of our sovereignty. I certainly can't remember anyone asking me to sign away monetary policy and having 70% of my laws passed by people I never heard of, from a building that's not in the phone book. This book explains how that happened.

The authors argue that this compete lack of democracy is a real danger to the continent and if not addressed will "leave a terrible devastation behind it, a wasteland from which it would take many years for the people of Europe to emerge".

The last supranational semi-democratic state of Europe was called Yugoslavia. Seconds anyone?

By 
Killian Forde

Awaiting The Lark

Published by Ógra Shinn Féin

Price €8/£5 stg

Order online at www.osf.pro.ie.

Undoubtedly the Hunger Strike of 1981 was one of the crucial periods in the entire course of the struggle for Irish freedom. It was a turbulent and terrible phase. Many look upon that period with mixed emotions, feeling anger with pride. Angry at the British government and those who sat idly by while ten men died. But also pride in that these ten brave men gave up their lives for something that they wouldn't live to see.Ógra Shinn Fein has released a book reflecting these feelings now, 25 years on from the Hunger Strike of 1981.

Awaiting the Lark is a collection of personal memories, recollections and accounts from different republicans about the Hunger Strike of 1981. Indeed a number of contributors to the book weren't even born at the time of the 1981 Hunger Strike. The book itself is unique in the sense that it is based mainly on the participation and involvement of the youth in 1981. Throughout the period leading up to the Hunger Strike of 1981 a number of youth groups were set up to draw attention to the plight of the prisoners. Their aim was to protest and agitate for change within the prison system. The National Organiser of Youth Against the H-Blocks in 1981 was Seán Crowe, now a TD, and he himself has written a piece in the book describing his memories of the Hunger Strike. Séan states, "I had been involved in the early protests around the conditions in the H-Blocks and Armagh prisons. Coming from Dublin I didn't personally know any of the prisoners but had taken part in marches and protests throughout Ireland. Most of the prisoners were around their late teens or early 20s so it was easy to empathise with someone around your own age."

The book has the personal accounts of just republicans from all over Ireland. These include Hunger Striker Raymond McCartney, Paddy Agnew, who was elected as TD for Louth in 1981, whilst he was a protesting prisoner in Long Kesh in 1981 and Oliver Hughes, brother of Francis Hughes, the second prisoner to die in 1981

o Awaiting the Lark will be launched at the Felons Club in West Belfast at 5pm on Saturday 12August.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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