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Gibbon describes Rome and the EU

As you know, Edward Gibbon described the decline and fall of the Roman Empire in a voice that was colourful, ironical, sympathetic, and informed. His 18th century opus has remained a best seller.

The fall of the Roman Empire begins with the destruction of the Roman Republic, which Augustus turned into a dictatorship as he turned himself into an emperor. Augustus achieved this so stealthily that few people were aware of what was happening until it was too late. Here is a taste of what he did, which will sound eerily familiar to those of you concerned about the European Union and the present government of Britain.

“The emperors, as the first ministers of the republic, were exempted from the obligation and penalty of many inconvenient laws. They were authorised to convoke the senate, to make several motions in the same day, to recommend candidates for the honours of the state, to enlarge the bounds of the city, to employ the revenue at their discretion, to declare peace and war, to ratify treaties; and by a most comprehensive clause, they were empowered to execute whatsoever they should judge advantageous to the empire. . .”

The idea that some men and women will be above those "inconvenient" laws that hold them responsible for their actions has already come to pass in the EU. In Brussels, hundreds of motions are made every day, and scarcely debated, and the EU has "enlarged its bounds" to include 27 nations.

Unelected bureaucrats operating in the name of the EU spend your tax money as they see fit. With a foreign minister and an army, as the EU plans, it is only a matter of time before the EU will declare peace and war in your name.

But the last clause - "empowered to execute whatsoever they should judge advantageous to the empire" - really takes the cake because that is very nearly the language of the Lisbon Treaty which states that the EU will do whatever it judges advantageous to the EU, never mind what your nation state or people might think.

These changes ultimately destroyed Rome. They allowed personalities rather than just laws to rule, and solitary individuals rather than the genius of a whole people to make decisions. The Romans were deprived of their independence and their powers to respond and act, and crumbled before the crisis facing them.

More uncanny extracts from Gibbon tomorrow.