Blows for freedom

Every time the public is allowed a vote they show their scorn and dislike of current EU and UK government policies. The French, Dutch and Irish all voted against the ghastly EU Constitution and its renamed look alike. The people of the North East voted against regional government. The people of Manchester voted against more surveillance cameras and a further tax on motoring. In the latter two cases it was not a marginal decision or a small vote. The feeling was overwhelming, in carefully chosen Labour areas. The people had been beaten up by the Labour propoganda, yet they still voted No.

The frustration with governments is now intense, as they seek more ways to annoy us, and to thwart the popular will. Why will they never learn? They spend a fortune of our money on polling and researching our views, yet when they give us a vote they ignore the result. They should get the underlying message. We want more freedom. We want to keep more of our hard earned money to spend as we see fit.

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6 Comments

  1. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Your analysis is spot on. I was pleased to be able to show my feeling by voting NO in the referendum. When it comes to the general election the question is not a “YES” or “NO” and your party needs to be much clearer about what it is offering as an alternative to this failed government. Since Cameron was elected, I have argued that it is not sufficient to be simply “not Labour” you need to give the voters a positive vision for the future, supported by the necessary policies and actions to inspire confidence. I don’t think this is currently the case. By way of being helpful, may I repeat that your front bench colleagues need to work much more effectively to put across your plans and show, simply and clearly, that they know how to handle the country’s problems and want to be in office to bring that about.

  2. David Belchamber
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    As Brian Tompkinson says, many of us yearn for a conservative government that promotes a positive view for the future.
    In these times we require boldness but policies must be principled and hold good for years not months. Transparency and honesty would also be a welcome change.

  3. mikestallard
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    There is a deep philosophical divide here, I am afraid.

    On the one hand are the people who sincerely believe that the people are right and they know what they want. This is the Rousseau stream of thought. The General Will cannot, ever, be mistaken. This idea came to prominence in the French Revolution/American revolutions. It has so far proved disastrous in a number of countries: Iraq, Uganda, Zimbabwe.

    On the other hand are those who sincerely believe that government is a matter for experts. The “common” people are, for one reason or another, simply not capable of ruling themselves. This idea, first put forward by Plato, is Socialist, Marxist and it is also Conservative (in the 19th century aristocratic) sense. It has proved disastrous in Cuba, Russia and China.

    The people who invented the EU were, of course, Socialist. It was a deliberate act (Christopher Booker) to put a technocracy in place by stealth. The EU strongly represents the Platonic idea, that government is best left to the experts.
    The problem is that, apart from Libertas, there doesn’t seem anyone who is speaking up for those of us who believe in the first idea of power resting on the revealed will of the people in Europe.

    (PS Both ideas are convinced that they are “democratic”!)

  4. Mark
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    The role of politicians should be to lead, not to follow. Populism is not the answer.

    I agree that the attitude of the EU to the results of referenda is disgraceful. There is a clear democratic deficit in the European project.

    But we – sound Tories – need to remember Margaret Thatcher. Sometimes public opinion needs to be challenged and changed.

    Politics is the art of the possible. It is possible for the political elite (or a party) to challenge the consensus. If that challenge fails, then the party will have to adapt of fail.

    It is, sadly, possible for the EU institutions (and supportive national governments) to ignore the public will. But this – like the position of any party in any single country – can only be temporary. At some time there will be a reckoning.

    The EU assumes that time (and changing generations) will work in its favour and resolve the problem. Hence the millions of our money poured into pro-EU education. But it won’t. And when the “project” goes wrong it will hurt all of us.

    In the meantime, we should fight against the imposition of the Lisbon treaty against the will of the peoples of Europe and warn against the consequences if their will is ignored.

  5. Martin Hewlittle Jr
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Say YES to Free Europe. Vote at http://www.FreeEurope.info

  6. Blank Xavier
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    JR wrote:
    > We want more freedom. We want to keep more of our hard
    > earned money to spend as we see fit.

    Yes. Those two sentences perfectly describe my deeply and intensely held views in this matter.

    This is one of the reasons I left the country.

    When, as I expect, the pound reaches equality with the euro, my gross pay will have doubled from 32,000 UKP (back in the UK) to 64,000 UKP here in Amsterdam.

    My taxation level has dropped, too and if I buy a house here, I would then be paying, I estimate, 17.2% income tax.

    That’s what moving to Holland did for me.

    (And if I was so inclined, I could smoke cannabis all day long in a coffee bar, hanging out with my friends. Oddly enough, civilization as we know it here doesn’t seem to have stopped because of it, despite it now being a Class B drug in the UK where possession is up to five years in prison and/or an unlimited fine).

    Life can be *so* much better than it is. Why isn’t it? and the answer is : Government policy. Tax and spend.

  • 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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