Saturday, October 20, 2007

Several stops beyond Barking

Back at the time of the 1975 Referendum campaign, when the grass was greener and so was he, Malcolm spoke from anti-EEC platforms. After one such evening, where the platform panel out-numbered the audience and its dog, Malcolm began to question what the antis were about.

That re-appraisal led to him not voting in the Referendum itself (the only time Malcolm has not used his vote).

Today, while not rabid, he is a sincere believer that the European project deserves more than a degree of support. He is confirmed in this by any open debate on the issue. For example, today's Daily Telegraph has a typically inflammatory piece, Brussels dictatorship will face day of reckoning, by Charles Moore, which concludes:
The European project now resembles the state of the eastern European Communists after 1968, when party members gave up believing in their doctrine and just settled for comfortable jobs. They shored up their power and ignored their unpopularity. After 20 years, it all collapsed, because people started to take down the Berlin Wall, and no one quite dared stop them. The EU is not such a sharp oppression as was Soviet Communism, but it is similar in this respect - it tries wherever possible to avoid the democratic judgment of the people it rules. When that judgment does come, therefore, it will be merciless.
Pick the factual bones out of that dog's dinner.

Then consider the tone of the reader responses:
  • The fact that we now have a leader who is acting like a dictator by giving away something our forefathers fought and died to protect. I honestly believe that this will lead to insurrection, it may not happen now, but 10 or 20yrs from now. The English are always slow to react, but we always do react in the end.
  • I don't suppose anyone in the Military is of a mind for some serious action? like rounding the whole lot of this lying government up and finding somewhere to keep them for a few years (the Tower).
  • AT LAST - the truth behind the political smoke screen. Charles Moore has graphically expressed the cynical way the politicians and beaurocrats who benefit from the European Treaty continue to ignore public opinion. Democracy really is under threat. If, as seems likely Mr. Brown does deny the British people the referendum that was promised we must be prepared to embark upon a national display of civil disobedience. The people's will must prevail. Remember Britons, never, never, never shall be slaves.
  • Sudden death - or the death of a thousand cuts - Gordon has chosen.
  • We, once a independent Great Britain, would be dragged into it a new "soviet super state" with out so much as a whimper or a bang by Noolabour fuelled with lies, spin and more lies. We are it appears being lead to our certain demise, also it seems by political "inbreeds" with a low intellect toeing the party line with an appetite for absolute power. It looks as if Trotsky and Lenin live on in Brussels, and London.
  • I suppose We could have a military coup, but the army is away on other business, in a corner of a foreign field. There is going to be a reckoning, and Brown's name will go in the same category as all those puppet communist leaders of satellites eastern European states.
  • A region of Britain in the future disagrees with a ruling from Brussels. Civil disobedience and refusal to obey the ruling follow. Troops are sent to restore order. They will not be British troops. Never happen? Has any federation of sovereign states survived without bloodshed? Because daily life appears to go on as normal, we sleepwalk further into submission. But there will be a tipping point one day, most likely over something unexpected. How long until the "freedom fighters" commit the first outrage? Hopefully the ultimate collapse and disintegration of the EU will not be accompanied by the wars between member states as happened when Soviet Communism ended.Referendum now or Revolution later - and that is a promise.
  • we are sleepwalking to a civil war
Malcolm, for once, ventured into this mad-house, along these lines:
Most of these contributions (and even parts of the original article) seem to come down to:
• either a genuine criticism of and chronic complaint against the EU,
• a prescience of the Apocalypse.

The first should be complained seriously, the second is a serious complaint.

On what basis, apart from paranoia, can one presume the EU must fracture into an armed conflict? Or that there must be blood in the gutters when the poraille rise against their masters? Yet many of the plaints above show total surety of either or both.

Now to the real issue: how is the democratic deficit in the EU to be compensated?

It is valid to ask how an institution with 25 operating languages can become trans-national. That's a problem of comprehension at and of the organisational centre. Since so many of those petty nationalists represented above work for, shop with, deal with trans-national mega-corporations, they already know the answer there.

The other solution is devolution. Funnily enough, the EU is in favour of that principle, the UK Government welcomes it, but the little Englanders resist it equally on principle. Yes, very funny, were it not serious.
For some reason, perhaps on grounds of spelling, punctuation or good taste, Malcolm's comment was not immediately worthy of inclusion (though, after an interim of several hours -- presumably the electrons of cyberspace were going slow in sympathy with the CWU, it eventually did).

So, to the voice of reason, the first leader of today's Irish Times,
The new treaty is a substantial document which ushers in significant new offices, powers and procedures in the EU’s political system. A president of the council of ministers will be elected for two and a half years, renewable once. A High Representative for foreign and security policy will be appointed, and there is a new mutual defence clause. The European Commission’s size will be capped and a strict rotation of membership introduced, so that not all states will have representatives on it at any one time. Majority voting will be extended to 40 more areas, including justice and home affairs from which Ireland and Britain are opting out for the time being. The European Parliament will gain influence through the consequential extension of co-decision with the commission. So will the European Court of Justice. National parliaments will get more time to scutinise EU legislation. The EU gains new competences to deal with energy policy and climate change. The Charter of Fundamental Rights will have legal effect. And there is for the first time a right of exit from membership.
Now, to Malcolm, that is an exemplary and cool summary. If that is the treaty (and he has not yet gone to any original text), Malcolm finds it difficult to quibble too much.

Surely, he says, there should be a direct challenge to the antis:
  • Endorse the treaty as quickly as possible.
  • Go for a Referendum to exercise that right of exit from membership.

That is not going to happen, because the Conservative Party could never agree on withdrawal. The braying about a referendum on the treaty is a ploy to conceal that. Their friends in Big Business would not allow such a thing, and the ordinary bloke and doll would be allowed to bite into the real meat ...

For the record, last time (June 1975) it was 67% to 33% in favour on a 65% turnout. And, no, the Great British Public were not deceived; at enormous expense, they simply, sanely, coolly got it right. Sphere: Related Content

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