Thursday, June 21, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For - Postscript

No voting por favor, we're EUropean
I forgot to mention in my previous post on the subject that there are even those within the nest of vipers, the Commission, that are some voices of reason. Even Margot Wallström, on her blog at certain times suggested an EU wide referendum on whatever settlement is reached. She seems vague on the details other than that it should take place on the same day across the EU, and I suspect she envisages a simple 50% plus one across the continent as representing approval, regardless of the probable strong negative numbers in some member states. Despite that it did seem that at least she had an appreciation that the absence of the informed consent of the people could only damage the EU in the long term.

Unfortunately, of late, her blog is mute on the issue. Commentary on the subject is now conspicuous by its absence, in the same way as after initial critical comments on the policy, it is now too on the CAP. In the case of CAP it was a guest blogging by the Agriculture Commissioner that reasserted the official bullshit line, and brought debate to an end. On the fate of democratic input to constitutional reform the message is being delivered by more conventional media by her boss, former Maoist turned President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

Today he is increasingly angrily demanding ratification by Parliament alone, on the BBC he takes a breather to try mixing a little soft soap with his contempt at the people:
"Sometimes I hear people saying that for Parliament to approve it would be by the back door.

"Britain is the country that exported Parliamentary democracy to the world. Do the British people consider Parliament the backdoor?

"Do the British people who killed their king to protect the rights of Parliament consider it the back door?

"Is that the respect some people show their Parliament , maybe the greatest Parliament in the world? I don't consider Parliament the back door."

Source: BBC News

It's the same old argument for representative democracy. It is true that this is the tradition in this country, but for it to function we need to know what our representatives represent. One of the main ways we try to ascertain this is the manifesto that they put forward when they seek election. Often the commitments made are fairly general and merely offer a framework within which a party pledges to represent our interests if it should come into government. There are some though that are highly specific and, regardless of what political theorists may think, I believe on these matters we do expect our MPs to act as our delegates rather than representatives. The EU referendum is one such commitment. If they had wanted the latter role they could have made a less specific pledge and taken the electoral risk. To renege on the commitment on the flimsiest of technical pretexts brings the whole process into disrepute.

Barroso, with all due lack of respect, you can take your type of democracy and vai chupar merda seu filho da puta.

On another issue, a couple of people who I know who read the previous postings in the series alleged I had a bit of a Maastricht obsession. This treaty featured heavily I suppose mainly because ultimately it was the turning point in my attitude to the EU. In their own ways Amsterdam and Nice were just as significant in the development of the EU, however on the face of it, with the UK opt-outs secured I also felt that there was nothing especially objectionable in them. Under my thesis I would have preferred referenda in these cases too, but had one been won on Maastricht I feel these later developments would have passed relatively. Goodwill towards the EU would be immeasurably higher, and, pruned of the material that the UK opted out of, they would have been much closer to the simple 'tidying up exercise' that we are being mislead to believe is being discussed today.

The campaign banner, courtesy of a Roger Helmer flyer goes up shortly.

THE END (For now)

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