Here you will find a selection of news, comments and reviews relating to BMDF publications.

Reviews and Comments on 'The Maastricht Treaty in Perspective'

  • "I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised that on Thursday night 336 members of the House of Commons voted in support of a document which very few of them had actually read. After all, Mr Hurd [the Foreign Secretary] admits that when he signed the Maastricht Treaty on 7 February, he himself hadn't read it either - certainly not all of it."

    "But does it not say something about the increasingly Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this great European Union we are all so keen to be part of that, by agreement between the member governments, the people of Europe are not officially to be allowed to read a full version of the Treaty until after all the governments have ratified it?"

    "All our own Government has done, very belatedly, is to publish a hotch-potch of the amendments agreed at Maastricht, so that it is almost impossible to make sense of how the amendments relate to the documents - the Rome Treaty and the Single European Act - they are amending."

    "Recently my friend Brigadier Cowgill, who runs the British Management Data Foundation, representing 25 leading companies, from ICI to British Aerospace, thought it was high time his members were able to see this document which will have such profound implications for their business operations. He therefore put together from various sources a complete version of the two treaties, showing the Maastricht amendments in context."

    "Copies of Cowgill's compleat Maastricht [correctly 'The Maastricht Treaty in Perspective - Consolidated Treaty on European Union'] have not only been eagerly welcomed by the Lords and Commons libraries; they are now even being sold by the Stationery office (although a cheaper version is available from the Centre for Policy Studies, available only to CPS members)."

    "Is it not extraordinary that the only way our legislators can read the Maastricht Treaty is through a piece of private enterprise like this? To return to where I started, is it not even more extraordinary that most of them are quite happy to vote enthusiastically for it without bothering to read it all? Or is that loud noise from the Palace of Westminster simply the sound of baa-ing?"

  • "Last week, I remarked on the extraordinary determination of the Government not to allow the publication of a full text of the Treaty signed at Maastricht until after it had been ratified."

    "I then found myself reading about the signing of another great constitutional landmark in our island story, the Magna Carta. What struck me was the fact that, no sooner was the ink dry on the Great Chart at Runnymede, then hundreds of clerks were brought in to engross copies of it, for distribution, as soon as possible to every town in the kingdom."

    "The moral of the tale seems to be that when you want to add to peoples liberties, you take care to let them know about it as soon as possible. When you want to take them away, you do everything you can to keep it quiet. Or, as Mr Tristan Garel-Jones of the Foreign Office put it to the Commons, you say it would be presumptuous of the Government to publish the Treaty, before it had been approved by the House. There are still those who think it might have been more in keeping with Mr Waldegrave's [a minister of the Conservative government] exciting new drive for open government to let the House read the Treaty before voting on it, rather than the other way around."

    "Incidentally, thanks to a typographical confusion, the private enterprise version of the Treaty I referred to last week was described as Cowgill's Compleat Maastricht. This was just a very small joke but apparently not a few people have been trying to order it under this title from HMSO and the Centre for Policy Studies. It is in fact called The Consolidated Treaty on European Union, published by the British Management Data Foundation."

  • "I really do find the Treaty unreadable and incomprehensible though I am grateful to the British Management Data Foundation for supplying a relatively comprehensible edition of it, giving a consolidated text of the Treaty of Rome as Maastricht proposes to amend it."

  • 'At last : The truth about the Maastricht Treaty.'

  • Lord Bruce of Donington moving an amendment to Part One of the Treaty said:

    "[Part One] can be found on page 2 of the very excellent 'Maastricht Treaty in Perspective' document issued by the British Management Data Foundation. It facilitates easier examination of the effects [of the Treaty]."

    "I am sure that Members of the Committee will agree that we are somewhat indebted to the Foundation for doing something which...the Government ought to have done to enable the public better to understand what is involved. Indeed, it might even have assisted certain members of the Government who subsequently admitted that they had not read the Treaty."

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