The EU project destroys European two party models of government and opposition

Those parties the EU would destroy are first driven into coalition. In Germany the old rivals, CDU and SDP are in grand coalition. It is proving especially stressful for the SDP who now wish to differentiate from the government line in a number of areas. The anti Euro AFD is on the rise, rallying the growing number of voters who think the Euro and the open borders are not policies working in Germany’s interest.

The EU’s interference in law making, budget setting and much else is crushing the traditional parties in many European countries. The collapse of the two main rivals is at its  most pronounced in Greece, where the grotesque austerity enforced on the country has removed Pasok as a party of government  (Labour like) and badly damaged New Democracy (Conservative like). In both Spain and Ireland the two traditional parties that contend for power received only around  than 50% of the vote between them in recent elections, leaving their countries without governments.

In the UK being out of the Euro moderates the impact of the EU somewhat. Even here  the vote share of Labour and Conservative together has fallen, but last time there was still a small majority for the Conservatives. However, to get the many EU laws, taxes, budgets and measures through against the opposition of a large number of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs the government has had to rely on Labour and SNP votes, or on their abstention. This reliance is creating tensions within the ruling party and within the opposition.

Now we come to the referendum the same truth underlies the Remain campaign. They can only hope to win if Mr Cameron attracts a majority of Labour and SNP voters to his cause, as many Conservatives are strongly against the EU and its works.

Government coalitions tend to erode confidence and respect for main parties, as the parties have to dump manifesto pledges and compromise principles people thought they held dear. Though many say they would like parties to work together more and find more compromises, in practice the results of that are often perceived as being bad faith and untrustworthiness. This is intensified if the compromises are to accommodate laws and taxes imposed by the EU rather than ones stemming from large bodies of opinion at home.

There are many critics and criticisms of two party choice  democracy. I think it the least bad system.  The problem with  multi party democracy is it can so easily mean weak government or  no elected government, more bureaucratic and EU control, and more scorn for parties who are forced to renege on some their most closely held beliefs and cherished policies. The EU is a creating a crisis of government in its large area. Many people now object to EU policy but have no way of changing it, even when they change their own national government in an attempt to do so. It is also fuelling parties that want to split up their nations, encouraged by the Europe of the regions rhetoric and grant regimes.


  1. David Murfin
    June 3, 2016

    If in a multi-party system parties are “forced to renege on some their most closely held beliefs and cherished policies” that is no worse than not being elected in a two-party system, is it? The real problem is the weakness that arises from horse-trading to get any sensible policies adopted, which leads to slow decision-making and unworkable compromises.

  2. Ian Wragg
    June 3, 2016

    Destroying the traditional system suits the EU splendidly as many of the smaller parties like the Brussels dimension. It gives them disproportionate representation in the Ivory towers.
    It makes it almost impossible for anti EU parties to flourish.
    That was then. Now we have the voters waking up to the con. All over Europe anti EU sentiment is increasing as with ukip in Britain.
    Regardless of the result of the referendum the next election will see ukip with knobs on particularly if the Liblabcon think they can dish up the same nonesense.

  3. Denis Cooper
    June 3, 2016

    It’s not really the time to discuss this, but I would like to square the circle by having a strong government held to account by a strong opposition and with a much greater possibility of new alternative parties making progress and providing competition to them both, and the best way to do that is to make proper use of the second chamber of Parliament rather than having it packed with unelected legislators-for-life chosen by main party leaders.

    1. eeyore
      June 3, 2016

      I like an unelected second chamber for two reasons. Firstly, we the commons of Britain are fully represented in our own House of Parliament, the Commons House. We need no further representation elsewhere and to provide it would do violence to the Constitution.

      Secondly, I buy the Scrutonian argument, that a revising chamber chosen by chance – by God Almighty if you like – is a more accurate representation of the nation as a whole than the popularly elected but personally self-selected Commons can ever be.

      To return to the subject in hand: I think this brief essay from Mr Redwood is, if he will pardon the observation, a little jewel of applied statesmanship. Every sentence is as weighty as it is limpid. Europe is fortunate to have such a thinker working on its behalf. Needless to say, Europe won’t pay the slightest notice.

    2. getahead
      June 3, 2016


    June 3, 2016

    It is a natural consequence of the impoverishment of governance that eventually polarised political groups will enlarge. It would be easy to conclude for some that it is a conspiracy.

    Weakening nation-state homogeneity via an increasingly democratic/power deficit. A demographic racial/ethnic/ religious/national division within states. All culminating with “extreme” groups gaining traction; for, people really do need and wish for identity.

    Who but a fool, given European history, would create differing communities within Germany for example at many times the speed of Germany’s human procreation rate? Germany, still not sure-footed. With still massive pyscho-political over-compensation for her past.

    The architects of the EU are not true buddies of Europe.

    June 3, 2016

    It is a measure, I think, of the political maturity of “right-wing” groupings in Europe that they know they are being given birth not from their own whim of the moment. Nor are they growing for the most part by their own enthusiasts’ efforts. But by the procedural imperative of the EU itself.
    We are very old nations and peoples in the UK and Europe and are literally nobody’s fools.

  6. alan jutson
    June 3, 2016

    Afraid Mr Cameron has it wrong again.

    It will not be us leaving the EU which may cause the next conflict, but those who remain who will be torn apart from within if they stay.

    You outline the situation well, those on the far Left and the far Right have one thing in common, which is opposition to the EU.
    As more and more people gradually join/filter to these groups from the centre, out of frustration for change, there will eventually be a real fight for power within those Nation states which the EU wants to destroy.

    Troubling times ahead for those who Remain.

    Will we be affected if we are out, yes to some degree, but by far less than if we were still in when it all happens.

    1. getahead
      June 3, 2016

      Those you describe as far left and far right are probably more accurately termed as far centre, ie normal folk.

  7. agricola
    June 3, 2016

    I am unsure about the virtues of your two party model. It demands that people choose black or white when most of us I suspect are shades of grey. We only polarise when subjects such as the EU arise. Equally our election system may give a majority mandate to one party or another, but this has destroyed stability in education since ww2 and many other areas too. The FPTP system can hardly be described as fair or democratic. Witness general election 2015, SNP 4.7% of vote generating 56 MPs; UKIP 12.6% of vote generating 1 MP; Lib/Dems 7.9% of vote generating 8 MPs.

    The EU destroys political debate and is well on the way to destroying the need for national parliaments, particularly for those within the Euro. It is rule by a bureaucratic dictatorship with interjections from those who really feel they hold the power. Witness Angela Merkel threatening trade post Brexit with no consultation with her car manufactures or for that matter the WTO. Then there is France being told that it is okay for her to exceed budgetary limits on the basis that she is France. Greece being Greece cannot of course. In a true democracy, all these voices off would be constrained by political reality.

    If the aspirations of the founding fathers of the EU are to be achieved, they need to call a halt and start again with a clean sheet of paper. The number one requirement should be to acquire the consent of the people before moving forward. The representation should be by a nationally elected member having one vote, irrespective of size or financial clout, in an assembly of similarly elected members. Majority decisions should then go back to national electorates for approval by referendum. If the people cannot accept a recommendation then it should not be pressed. In the EU politicians have been the death of democracy.

    1. Chris S
      June 4, 2016

      Your suggestion of one country one vote in the EU is ridiculous.

      It would be like a federal UK where 58m English people have no more say than the 1.8m people of NI, 3m in Wales or 5.3m Scots.

      We English certainly don’t have the power our size would dictate would be fair but we are a long way from your proposal

  8. Liz
    June 3, 2016

    The democratic deficit, which for me is the most important reason for leaving the EU, is hardly getting a mention in the referendum debate, as if democracy doesn’t matter. It seems to be “dodgy” economic reasons for Remain and immigration for Leave that are deemed to be the only matters worth debating. In fact the lack of democracy is what shamefully, some politicians and civil servants seem to find attractive about the EU Government.

    1. Anonymous
      June 3, 2016

      There is a good closing point to make whenever using immigration as a Leave argument:

      “… the point is not the migration itself but that we don’t get to make our own decisions on it.”

      1. rose
        June 3, 2016

        And our PM has now said the way to cope with it is for more of us to emigrate.

  9. oldtimer
    June 3, 2016

    This may be a good example of the Law of Unintended Consequences – or perhaps it was intended. If intended it is very foolish because sooner or later it was bound to produce the backlash seen in several EU countries.

    There is an added problem for those countries that are net contributors to the EU like the UK. The decisions made by the EU Commission to allocate funds back to the UK, such as regional funds, university grants and the like, without parliamentary scrutiny effectively imposes taxation without representation. I and other taxpayers have no say in how this money is dispersed; it is done at the discretion or whim of unknown, unelected, unseen bureaucrats.

    How long will it take, I wonder, if the country votes Remain, before the voters reach their Boston tea party moment?

    1. Anonymous
      June 3, 2016

      To often Welsh politicians get away with saying “We’d be a lot worse off without EU funding.”

      But it’s OUR funding !

  10. a-tracy
    June 3, 2016

    Carolyn Lucas said that the EU was more democratically representative as it uses PR, however, what she needs to remember is that we have devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in England there is a Conservative majority. The biggest failure of Cameron’s government is not giving us our English Votes for English Laws.

    Carolyn also failed to say that the EU Parliament doesn’t create the laws and regulations, that’s done by a completely undemocratically elected European Commission. Our British Commissioner is Lord Jonathan Hill, who knew! Who tells him what to do?

    1. a-tracy
      June 3, 2016

      Oops I forgot about the unelected Council of Ministers, that is also the main decision-making and legislative body. Of course this isn’t to be confused with the European Council where Heads of the 28 states meet to set the strategic direction of the EU!

      People need to know what they are voting for, instead of just being threatened with what might happen if we don’t do as we’re told.

    2. rose
      June 3, 2016

      Miss Lucas needs to stick to the subject of population, the only thing she never mentions, but the only remedy for environmental degradation. In fact she spends a great deal of time trying to grow our population by urging ever greater numbers of immigrants.

  11. Phil Richmond
    June 3, 2016

    John – this is why someone like me who first voted for Maggie in 1987 as an 18yr old and was a Conservative Party member for many years now votes UKIP as a protest against your leader Cameron.
    Your party is riddled with careerist quislings like Cameron, Osborne, May, Rudd, Morgan, Hunt, Truss, Soubry, Javid etc etc. I’m not coming back until they have gone.
    The question is – what are you going to do about it???????

    1. getahead
      June 3, 2016

      Excuse me. What do you suggest he does about it? JR, though he should be, is not the Prime Minister.

  12. forthurst
    June 3, 2016

    “There are many critics and criticisms of two party choice democracy. I think it the least bad system.”

    Clearly there have been those in the Tory high command who believed this so strongly that they were prepared to credit the cost of local campaigning in constituencies at risk of electing an alternative voice to the two party consensus in favour of allowing our country to be sacrificed to their shortsighted groupthink consensus that their actions occasioned invesigations by the proper authorities.

    Thr great danger of two party government is that the two conspire to fight each other over trivialities whilst kicking the really important issues, those that affect the lives of us all, like mass uncontrolled immigration particularly of cultural incompatibles, thoughtcrime laws to shut the English up, wars of criminal aggression that have caused a flood of refugees, the massive erosion of democratic accountability by progressive surrender to the Brussels regime and the destrution of our industrial base on the alter of a half-baked scientific hypothesis. Parliament needs new ideas, not old, discredited and pathological ones that have been making us weaker.

    Reply As I understand the issue the Conservative party reported all the costs of the election as it needed to do. The dispute is over whether a cost is properly part of the national campaign or part of a local campaign and I have not seen the details of the allegations in individual constituency cases. All parties are allowed to raise and spend money nationally on promoting their generic message and Manifesto that is in addition to local contest spending for named candidates.

  13. NickW
    June 3, 2016

    The two party system is disappearing because we are being governed by the EU, by dictat, and there is therefore no difference between two parties which both support the EU.

    The logical evolution of the two party system is therefore to two parties, one of which supports the EU, and one of which is opposed to EU dictatorship. That is what is happening across Europe. The political parties have failed to adapt to the new situation.

    The logic will therefore be that in the event of a Brexit vote, we will need a Government which is united behind Brexit; i.e. a cross party coalition of Brexit MPs.

    In the event that the vote is for remain, Government stability can only be achieved by having two parties, one of which is opposed to EU membership and one which supports it.
    The rest of Europe needs that model too.

  14. Bert Young
    June 3, 2016

    The revolt and dissension that exists in the traditional political parties is no more obvious than that in the constituency where I live in S.Oxfordshire . Yesterday I responded to the comments made by our Conservative MP who did nothing more than echo the Cameron line ; I reminded him of the high number of individuals who had resigned from their membership and warned him of the danger that faced his Party post June 23rd .

    Cameron will not be able to re-unite the Conservatives ; he is a failed Prime Minister and no longer has the trust of the voters .

    1. getahead
      June 3, 2016

      The Conservative Party will have to regroup. The Cameronistas will join the LibDems. The rump, true conservatives will join the true Ukip conservatives to form the real Conservative Party that should have been formed some time ago.

  15. They Work for Us?
    June 3, 2016

    The EU never ceases to amaze. I (foolishly) thought that we were still on the rotating President of the Council system but this was abolished in the Lisbon Treaty and we now have Mr Tusk appointed as President. My aim was to see who was President when Angela Merkel decided (in practice) major items involving policy on migration, agreements to fund Turkey and award it enhanced status to get it to carry out some sort of border control our behalf.
    Who agreed on Angela Merkel taking the lead in the EU, did the rest of the PMs of nation states just tug their forelock and say “Yes Boss”? Is there no leader that organises the others to outvote her on EU policy? Rumours of the Fourth Reich by slow subterfuge would appear to be true.

  16. Shieldsman
    June 3, 2016

    What is the Government under Mr Cameron offering the Europhiles and the undecided voter?
    Something which does not exist – A REFORMED EUROPEAN UNION.
    The Brussels Agreement was a tidying process with three promises that have yet to be fulfilled.
    There was no TREATY Change, acknowledged in the Government document Number 7524, 8 March 2016. “The Decision is not a binding EU treaty or EU law in itself.”
    Two parts of the Settlement state that they will be incorporated into the EU Treaties at the next opportunity for Treaty revision. Some elements of the Decision (e.g. limiting child benefits, the emergency brake on in-work benefits, stricter rules on marriages of convenience) will have to be passed by separate secondary EU legislation before they can take legal effect. This would be done using the Ordinary Legislative Procedure, involving QMV in the Council and a simple majority of the EP for approval. The Court of Justice could be asked to rule on whether the threshold condition for the emergency brake had been met.

    Graf Lambsdorff: EU ‘clearly went too far’ in Brexit concessions. For the emergency brake to come into force, the EU directive on free movement has to be modified, which can only be done with the consent of the European Parliament. Should the Parliament use this opportunity to amend the Council’s proposal?
    I’m sure that I will certainly not agree to a change of the directive, as it would restrict one of our basic fundamental freedoms. I assume that many in my group, as well as my colleagues in the EPP and S&D group will feel the same.

    Interesting reading on the agreement can be found at:
    Lawyers for Britain – “Ever Closer Union” will remain in the Treaty and the summit
    nuanced (and non-binding) interpretation of the concept of “ever closer union”, they miss the real target, do not contradict or limit any existing ECJ case law, and it is not possible to see how they would actually affect the outcome of a real case in a real situatdeal makes no difference to the UK’s legal obligations.
    Conclusions: It can be seen that the provisions of the summit “deal” on “ever closer union” and “sovereignty” are almost totally devoid of substance. For the most part, they make no alteration of any kind to the existing legal rights and obligations of the UK but are simply reiterating the existing legal situation for purposes of political effect and not substance. Where they attempt to make a nuanced (and non-binding) interpretation of the concept of “ever closer union”. 3 Mar 2016: Cameron’s renegotiation is nothing more than a rebranding exercise. There is nothing of substance to the United Kingdom’s renegotiation agreement, but it has been sold as a full revision of the country’s EU membership, write James Bartholomeusz and Daniel Schade.

    CAP -X 27th April 2016: A critical view of the EU deal, from Germany to Britain
    By German professors group
    Whether Britain needs the EU just as much, is a choice for the British people. But it is not a choice between change and no change. Rather, it is a choice between leaving or remaining in an EU that would remain committed to further political integration, and there is nothing in the EU-UK Agreement that can offer the UK any permanent legal safeguards against being dragged along the path of further integration albeit with provisos and reluctantly. The Agreement cannot do so because it does little to reform the EU and does not exempt Britain from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice and the uniform application of its pro-Union approach to judicial decision-making.

    A special status in a reformed European Union is a complete misnomer, the same status conditions preexisted prior to the Brussels CHARADE.
    Without a Treaty change the UK’s terms of membership of the EU are defined in the LISBON Treaty and opt-outs signed by Gordon Brown.

    In my e-mail on 26th May, Government responded:
    The Prime Minister has secured a new settlement for the UK, which delivers on the Government’s commitment to fix the problems that have frustrated people in Britain.
    In my e-mail on 26th May, Government responded:
    The Prime Minister has secured a new settlement for the UK, which delivers on the Government’s commitment to fix the problems that have frustrated people in Britain.
    The Government believes Britain is stronger, safer and better off within a reformed European Union. The Prime Minister has secured a new settlement for the UK, which delivers on the Government’s commitment to fix the problems that have frustrated people in Britain.

    However, if the British people vote to leave on 23 June, they would rightly expect the process to exit the EU to start straight away. The rules for exit are set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This is the only lawful route available to withdraw from the EU.

    The House of Lords took legal advice on Article 50. REFORM means to CHANGE, for REFORM/Change to apply to all 28 Member States surely it requires amendment to and change to the Lisbon Treaty, so do we need an additional legal ruling? If so then Vote.Leave better get cracking and obtain it. Actually you do not need to be a Lawyer, it is plain commonsense.

    thousands, not the hundreds of thousands, enhance our border security and strengthen the enforcement of immigration rules, develop a fund to ease pressure on loWhat were the problems the PM said he would fix, and has he been successful.
    2015 Conservative manifesto: Controlled immigration that benefits Britain Pages 29 & 30
    Our commitment to you: Our plan to control immigration will put you, your family and the British people first. We will reduce the number of people coming to our country with tough new welfare conditions and robust enforcement.
    We will: keep our ambition of delivering annual net migration in the tens of thousands, cal areas and public services, reform the workings of the EU, which is too big, too bossy and too bureaucratic
    Conservatives believe in controlled immigration, not mass immigration.
    When immigration is out of control, it puts pressure on schools, hospitals and transport; and it can cause social pressures if communities find it hard to integrate,
    No to a constant flow of power to Brussels. No to unnecessary interference. And no, of course, to the Euro, to participation in Eurozone bail-outs or notions like a European Army.

    Freedom of movement, that is the right of any EU citizen to live and work in the United Kingdom means we can never control migration from Europe, whilst remaining in the EU.
    The EU is on a wild ride to political union. An insight to the future in the EU can be read in DRAFT REPORT on improving the functioning of the European Union building on the potential of the Lisbon Treaty (2014/2249(INI)). Several of the report’s proposals call for the ‘passerelle clause’ to be activated, so that national veto rights can be circumvented and qualified majority votes counted instead.

    How many U turns is David Cameron going to make. We have a Prime Minister that can’t remember what he said in a speech to the CBI 6 months ago. I am being selective but it comes from the transcript:
    So today I also want to debunk an argument that is sometimes put around by those who say ‘stay in Europe come what may’. Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country. We have got the fifth biggest economy in the world. We are a top ten manufacturer, growing steadily strong financial services. The world wants to come and do business here, look at the record of inward investment. Look at the leaders beating a path to our door to come to see what’s happening with this great country’s economy.

    The Brussels charade is a confidence trick being perpetrated by Cameron’s Government on the British Public

    In his interview with Andrew Marr, at one stage Cameron was on the hook, but the BBC would not allow that.
    AM: Isn’t the big truth about this that the old EU with its treaties, the Lisbon treaty and the Nice treaty and all the rest of them, overhanging our laws, and its over – centralised massive, blundering machine, imperial in its ambitions, carries on, and because we are still under those treaties we carry on under it?
    DC: Well the difference is that of course now we’re not only out of the euro, out of the no borders agreement, but we’re also out of ever -closer union, so we won’t be part – yes.
    AM: Well, are we? Because this depends upon a treaty of undefined scope, at an undefined time, with new leaders we don’t even know about, so it’s taken on trust.

    1. Chris S
      June 4, 2016

      Thanks for putting this together. It really is a damning endictment of Cameron.

  17. Jack
    June 3, 2016

    A two-party system and FPTP is fine as long as both main parties stick to their ideals. For example, a centre-right government should generally cut taxes and a centre-left should increase spending to keep the government deficit large enough for maximum prosperity. Voters can then choose at the polls which they prefer; personally I’d take massive tax cuts over gov’t spending increases.

    The problem is, the current situation across the EU is the centre-right governments cut spending but not taxes, and the centre-left raise taxes but not spending, in the quest for smaller government deficits to comply with EU deficit rules.

    We need to break out of this mentality, politicians need to read books like the Seven Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy by Warren Mosler (who visits the Federal Reserve regularly and has worked in banking all his life) to gain an understanding of how a sovereign country’s monetary system actually works. Then they will be able to properly argue against EU-dictated austerity programmes whether they’re politically on the left or on the right, and actually be able to propose solutions.

  18. Chris S
    June 4, 2016

    I would agree that two party democracy is the least worse system. Having lived in Germany I’ve had experience of their coalition model. Before the collapse of the Free Democrats and the resulting Grand Coaltion, Germans had the FDP permanently in Government which ever of the main parties won the election.

    This was like having Clegg and his yellow band permanently pulling the strings and limiting the ability of a PM and the Government to implement policies the LibDems (FDP) didn’t like. Hardly democratic.

    On the other hand was our system in the 70s and 80s where policy flip flopped from left to right and back good for the country ?

    The early Blair years probably saw the greatest political consensus in the UK. Conservatives saw Blair as the acceptable face of Labour. His greatest mistake was not Iraq, it was deploying that other WMD, Gordon Brown, to mismanage the finances and allow him to dictate massive areas of other departmental policy by his manipulation of their finances. We all know how that turned out !

    Had Blair moved Brown to The FCO when he had the chance, Iraq would probably not have happened, the Country’s finances would have been secure and he might now be considered a successful PM.

    He’d still be a hate figure for the Corbynisters,though

  19. Lindsay McDougall
    June 5, 2016

    Suppose that fairly soon after our Referendum the EC, France and Germany propose a new Treaty based on the 5 Presidents Report and the military provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, possibly enhanced. Will all the nations currently in the EuroZone wish to remain there?

    My bet is that a lot of them might want to leave. Why then has our Prime Minister pronounced, without any authorisation by these nations, that they are irrevocably committed to the Euro? It’s one thing to throw away our democratic rights, quite another to throw away everybody else’s.

    Whatever happened to centuries of English and later UK foreign policy aimed at preventing any one power dominating continental Europe? We should encourage breakaways.

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