Trendy EU publications are aimed at youth.... but where is it all leading?
'CITIZENS' OF THE EURO-STATE
This topic may be increasingly relevant as in 1994 a European Parliament spokesman remarked that the EU needed a Constitution as Treaties bound only governments, not "citizens".
Maastricht has claimed us as EU "citizens" since 1993, "subject to the duties imposed thereby". Did anyone ever ask you if you wanted this, or explain what the duties were?
Schools have had to run 'citizenship' lessons since 2000. Although theDepartment for Education & Skills' (DfES) factsheet is neutral, many of its recommended 'resources' are not.
On one website,YourTurn.net, a pop-up screen suggests If the EU members had competed as one country at the Sydney Olympics, they would have topped the medals table! Implication: "Let's have a country called 'Europe'...".
Other pieces on "the benefits of being a European citizen" whitewash the EU.
YourTurn is "made possible" by the Community Fund (money from the national lottery, Lotto). It is run byThe Common Purpose Charitable Trust whose many sponsors include BBC Wales, BBC Radio Cleveland, 7 Government departments, several companies & councils. Many probably are unaware of what they are sponsoring, just thinking it's a community project.
The European Commission runs European Youth Conventions, using our money, as part of its propaganda aimed at youth.
It also launched a controversial £300m scheme, "Citizenship for Youth" in 2000 (Guardian, Sun, Telegraph, Times, 7.8.00).
This will develop a "European dimension" and European teaching aids for schools (including primary). Although curriculum content is officially decided nationally, in practice member states are bound by the goals of treaties, and in any case the New Labour government announced in 1999 that it was putting a European dimension into all policy-making.
Unsurprisingly DfES provides support for EU funded groups, such asEuropean Schoolnet and a 'my EUROPE' network, which pushes "European citizenship'.
TheHansard Society and Citizenship Foundation are working with the European Parliament (EP) to produce MEPs in schools(!).
Ironically, the Society claims to be an "independent educational charity" whose aim is to promote effective Parliamentary democracy!
NB By law, Charities should not indulge in political campaigning.
The 1996 Education Act forbids indoctrination and bias in schools, and requires balance in discussing controversial subjects! Parents should insist on their rights.
We're keen to hear from campaigners who would like to put questions to various public bodies and companies.
Its Board includes Andrew Duff MEP (LibDem, Federal Trust) and one Vice Chairman is the disgraced MP Austin Mitchell. Duff has proposed that the UK should not be allowed to leave the EU without the permission of its institutions! (EUObserver, 17.9.02).
Claiming to be an "independent charity", the Foundation recommends books promoting European citizenship (one by the Society's Jan Newton!). It is supported by DfES and the Lord Chancellor's Department, supposedly the guardian of our legal system!
The European Parliament was heavily involved in the Speak Out! on European Citizenship booklet (Teachers' Guide aimed at 15+) published by theInstitute for Citizenship (IfC). IfC want young people to "participate actively in development of European democracy". Amazingly, IfC has charity status. It is also sponsored by... DfES, BBC Education, the Home Office, the Community Fund & Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust (pro-regionalists).
Also promoted by DfES,Speak Out! is a propaganda masterpiece. (NB Although downloaded in October 2002, the link failed to work recently). Although it provides some balance on EU enlargement and joining the Euro, it only uses Scandinavian sceptics, who seem to miss some UK arguments. It does not question EU membership. It highlights EU views on 'Human Rights' but not moves to let the EU take away our rights! It talks of corruption and bureaucracy as "media stories" - whereas they are proven to exist.
Its "contrasting views" on the European Parliament differ on the level of its powers, but not its existence. Compare Jens-Peter Bonde MEP ("a lot of problems cannot be solved in nation states any more") with Andrew Duff MEP ("single European parties are essential").
In discussing enlargement, it trivialises the loss of national vetoes. And Tom Arbuthnot (Foreign Policy Centre)'s bizarre claim that for the UK to be able to discuss tax issues, we must commit to join the Euro, goes unchallenged!
Thankfully British youth has been seeing through EU propaganda - nearly 75% rejected the EU in a survey run by the Runnymede Trust. The Commission's Geoffrey Martin described this widespread resentment as "the beginning of a crisis". (Sunday Telegraph, 1.3.98)This page updated: 29 December 2002