EU 2 The people 0

The decision to rush the EU Constitution through this week in France with no referendum shows just how undemocratic a construct this whole EU edifice has become. It almost beggars belief that the French are told by their President they cannot have another referendum because that might trigger one in the UK where the project would be voted down!

Surely the French deserve another if their government is so determined to countermand their clearly expressed hostility to another Treaty expressed in their last referendum?

It also seems likely the Dutch will not be allowed another referendum, because they too got the answer wrong last time as far as the political class of the EU are concerned.

It makes it even more necessary for voters to maximise pressure on all those MPs in the UK who promised a referendum in the last General Election who are not currently inclined to keep their word and vote for one.

The people deserve a voice. It will be a disgrace if democracy is snuffed out on this crucial issue on both sides of the Channel.

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17 Comments

  1. Bob Jones
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    It would be wonderful if we had any say but as you've said, we'd vote the wrong way so I imagine the Government will either ignore it or make us vote again until we get the right answer. I've never muched agreed with Tony Benn but he said years ago when he turned up to the EEC the decision was already made, thats how it is with this constitution – the decision has been made, short of getting the Americans to liberate us I don't see a way out!

  2. Letters From A Tory
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    In the UK, people seem fairly oblivious to the fact that other European countries are being screwed by their rulers by being denied a referendum, simply because the public will vote it down. Has there ever been such an assault on democracy by the EU as this is? The pro-EU lobby are hiding behind their desks in the European Parliament and are too afraid to let the people have their say.
    http://lettersfromatory.wordpress.com

  3. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    The whole basis of the EU is undemocratic. There has never been any intention of even listening to the views of the electorates of the member states let alone allowing them to have a say in decision making. The political class in power are arrogant and treat the people they should be serving with contempt. They advocate the virtues of democracy for other countries whilst denying it to their own people. There are many amongst supporters of the EU who believe that they need a stong United States of Europe equivalent to the United States of America. Just a cursory look at the workings of democracy of these two shows the EU to be more like the old USSR than the USA. Eventually, as with the USSR, the whole rotten system will collapse. We shall be fortunate if this is not preceded by some form of violence.

  4. Stuart Fairney
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    It seems to me that the political aristocracy in the EU are behaving in precisely the same way the French aristocrats did in 1797! There are surely lessons to be learned in that.

    Would I be right in saying that you favour trading with the EU openly, but leaving ourselves free to decide on our own laws, foreign policy, currency and interest rate? If this is the two

  5. Tony Makara
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    John, what do you feel about the attempt of Dutch foreign minister Maxime Jacques Marcel Verhagento in lobbying for Israel to be accepted as an EU member state? No doubt if Israel were to join, others in the region and even in north Africa would follow. The implications with regard to migrant labour from such countries are very worrying. There is also the question of development and what that is going to cost. What is your view on EU enlargement, particularly into areas outside of Europe itself?

    Reply: I have always worried about enlargement, as it has always been used as an excuse to strengthen the central power of the EU at the same time. I think we need limits to the geographical reach of the EU, and limits to its power – for the UK, far less power than it currently asserts.

  6. newmania
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    This grows worse and worse. We now face the prospect of some PR system wherby the MP no longer has to listen to you and no access to most descisions anyway. This will turn on the pivot of the Lib Dems and their historic betrayal. The only hope is that the members are unwilling to go down in infamy and their are signs they are not .

    I would early love to do soiemthing about it but joining UKIP is so counterproductive . I think the way forward is cross Party cooperation on this issue where many agree on all sides

  7. rose
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    May I suggest people look at the following film on the web and send it to any sleepy friends?
    The Real Face of the European Union

  8. David Hannah
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    You

  9. Elizabeth Elliot-Pyl
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    So how are the people of France and Holland taking this decision? We dont hear anything about them, but one would imagine that having voted No fairly resoundingly, they would be somewhat pissed off to be ignored in this way.
    Also one cant help wondering why we are so bothered about being given a say – when our answers are ignored in this way. How many times have the people of Europe been given a say, and then told their answer was wrong and to go away and get it right next time?
    Isnt this what would happen if we DID have a referendum?

  10. Steven Baker
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the EU project is the first time Gradualism has been applied on a large scale, and still most of the people have not noticed that, yes, an undemocratic superstate is being constructed in Europe.

    The greatest success of the EU gradualists is to have made incredible the facts of the way we are governed today. We have lost our self-determination and our great constitution, our nation is increasingly totalitarian, and yet illustrating the facts meets laughter not outrage.

    Attempts to motivate the population against the EU have failed so far; how are we to make the awfulness of the project apparent to the uninterested? The immunity of Europol and the provisions of Prum might be a good place to start, in the context of DeMenezes, if matters can be kept simple enough.

  11. David Hannah
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your clarification Mr Redwood, but you seem to be in favour of the kind of EU that does not exist, and more importantly: one which is not on offer, as the treaty currently going through the House of Commons will testify.

    To my mind, it is a situation rather analogous to the following: A passenger finds himself on the wrong train: one which is in fact travelling in the opposite direction to his intended destination. Rather than getting off the train at the next station stop and continuing his journey in the correct direction, our unfortunate passenger spends the entire journey moaning at the train driver and any of the other passengers who will listen (most of whom are on their intended train). Predictably, his protestations are greeted with indifference by most, and anger by some.

    I think I can safely say that even the most ardent EU-sceptics (among which I include myself) are wholeheartedly in favour of free trade with the rest of Europe. However, the

  12. newmania
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    'Ever since losing that vote I have tried to implement what the public wanted – membership of a common market, not of a super state.'

    This argument may not seem especially subtle but I find it becomes attenuated by the time it reaches the general Public. What if such a choice is not available and what if such a choice will not become available until a readiness to leave is clearly demonstrated. It might be presented as opportunistic as Nick Clegg has tried , unconvincingly , to present the Conservative view
    I am by no means sure the public want anything beyond good relations with the Continent and we can be in a Common market without being in the EU.
    The debate is conducted in semaphore between a politician like yourself and the voter and I understand entirely the wish not to run ahead of the feasible and not to appear "extreme" . Perhaps focussing harder on the positive future for us deciding our own destiny is where the rhetoric might usefully concentrate.

    It isn`t easy and the 'pure' but politically unhelpful position of UKIP is one that I disapprove of far more in case this has seemed critical.

    Reply: I have set out a more positive vision in "Superpower Struggles" and in "Stars and Strife"

  13. Cliff
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    It is for the former USSR states that I feel sorry for. They won freedom from an undemocratic repressive system. With this new freedom they gained, they decide to join the EU only to find it is going to be the same undemocratic repressive system they fought so hard to gain freedom from before.

    We deserve all we get in this country, we have sat back and allowed the government to take us into the EUSSR. We and HM's opposition should have been more vocal in our objection to the whole process of Sovietisation by our Stalinist leaders.

    I just wonder why so many of our politicians are so in favour of the EUSSR, except you John of course, I wonder if it has anything to do with the large gravy train and snouts in troughs.
    No wonder people are becoming cynical about politics and politicians, still one good thing to come out of it, people are warming to estate agents and traffic wardens as their hatred grows towards politicians:-)

  14. newmania
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks ,and if this lucid blog is anything to go by there is every possibility that I may actually understand what I am reading.

  15. mikestallard
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I have just watched the video on the EU (see above). 45 minutes – yes – but it covered everything in calm, even tones and did not appear either BNP or swivel eyed.
    Much recommended.

  16. Richard
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    The most important body of the EU, which holds most of the Union's power is the coucil of ministers which meets in secret and is accountable to no one. Scarce little democracy there!

  17. David Belchamber
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    One simple point: is the Lisbon Treaty effectively a Constitution for the EU or is it not? Brown et al say it is not, many of us think that it is, so there is stalemate.
    Can that stalemate be resolved by an undependent body, such as a judicial review?
    If it could, then the government would have to agree to a referendum, if the verdict was "Yes, it is" and it would be let off the hook if the verdict was "No, it isn't".

  • About John Redwood


    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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