The EU and Africa sign up for democracy – who’s kidding who?

When I first heard the news that the EU-Africa summit would produce a declaration to promote democracy at its heart I marvelled that African dictators had a sense of humour forcing this statement onto a reluctant EU. The EU after all is famed for ignoring the wishes of voters at every turn. They tell countries that hold referenda to re-run them if they reach the wrong answer. They work with secretive governments to throttle promised referenda at all costs.

Then I guessed it was more likely the EU, with its usual brass neck, presumed to telll Africa democracy would be good for them whilst ensuring it was suppressed at home. The EU did not raise an eyebrow when the North East of England voted down regional government and the UK government carried on with it nonetheless, because regionalism is an EU idea. The EU doggedly pursued the development of its Constitution that both France and the Netherlands had voted down. It has conspired to deny both countries and the UK a referendum on the slightly revised version it now insists on. The EU always wants a second referendum if some European power grab is voted down in a first anywhere in the EU. The EU can never understand the word "No" about its plans to take power away from European peoples.

For once I agree with Gordon Brown – he was right to stay away from this conference. It was a pity that the UK was still represented. I see no advantage in the world being told of the importance of democracy by the likes of Mr Mugabe.

Why is the EU so blind to the follies of its position? Is this the same EU that lectures us all on the need to curb climate change? If it is the most serious challenge facing the planet why organise such an expensive junket for many politicians and advisers to fly to, burning carbon on the way? Going from jet to limo to 5 star hotel does not set a good example to the rest of us who are told that taking the family saloon to Tesco is bound to wreck the planet.

Is this the same EU that imposes agricultural protection on the 27 member states with a view to stifling African agricultural development by closing or restricting our markets to them ? Signing a declaration that we want more trade with Africa does not remove the main obtstacle, EU agricutural trade restrictions. It’s just more warm words and humbug.

Is this the same EU that imposed a travel ban on Mr Mugabe because his regime offended even the EU by the magnitude of its assault on civil liberties.? If a travel ban made sense last month, why could it suddenly be lifted this month when there was an EU boondoggle? Doesn’t it show there is no morality or backbone to EU foreign policy, no wish to apply pressure to evil dictators? What is the point of posturing against him one month, and welcoming him as a valued friend and adviser around the conference table the next?

Why is the EU spineless when dealing with dictators, yet spiteful when dealing with the democratic views of the people like us who pay its bills? When will they learn that we are angry about the way the European political elite wastes our money, ties us up in bureaucratic and legal knots, and embarrasses us on the world stage. We want an end to its artificial regions, an end to its expensive posturing, an end to its refusal to listen to the views of the taxpayers.

This summit makes the EU look discredited and dishonest. If they cannot take a stand against Mugabe, if they sign up to democracy when thwarting it at home, people will conclude they cannot be trusted.

Please can we have our country back? We want to make our own foreign policy decisions.

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5 Comments

  1. Cliff
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Regionalisation does not work, it tends to breed nationalism and civil war, look no further than the former Yugoslavia for a prime example.

    I wonder why Mr Mugabee could not have been arrested once he left Zimbabwe, in my view it appears he has committed crimes against humanity and should be tried for those crimes.
    Although he has treated his people badly, he is still seen as a hero by many Black Africans because they perceive he has stood up to the repression of the Black Africans by the white Europeans and in particular the British.
    I wonder why there is no international political will to oust Mr Mugabee. I feel we should make the aid packages to third world countries a little more conditional, it seems we fund these despots and then just sit back and hear them rubbish us and our way of life and beliefs.
    These countries seem to hate what we stand for but love the constant handouts we continue to give them. The problem I have is that although we give a fortune to these failed countries year after year, they make no progress. They still seem to have the same problems at grass root level that they have had for the last forty years. Surely the money we waste in places like Africa would be better spent on teaching them to help themselves. I suggest we need to put much less money through the governments of these countries and put that money into organisations that work on the ground like save the children and Caffod for example. Corruption is rife in many of these countries and often it goes up to government level so it makes sense to cut them out of the loop.
    We in the UK can also help these countries by not poaching their doctors and nurses and other professionals.

  2. Ian B
    Posted December 9, 2007 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    The main problem is, we can't have our country back until we have a major party to vote for who will promise to take us out of the EU and who will campaign on why we need to leave.

  3. Stuart Fairney
    Posted December 10, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    "Why is the EU spineless when dealing with dictators, yet spiteful when dealing with the democratic views of the people like us who pay its bills?"

    Because the autocrats of the EU and the Kleptocrats of Africa are cut from the same clothe perchance?

  4. Ganry93
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    As they discuss these matters, they can come to appreciate the different dimensions of a problem. ,

  5. BadGirl90
    Posted October 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Then he walked one mile west. ,

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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