‘No more referenda’ – EU urges less democracy
(European Commission official)
This is the considered opinion of the European Commission’s spokesman, as reported by eupolitix.com. The context is the Polish decision to hold referendum on entry to the Euro at some point in 2010. The response from Brussels has been one of dismay, with the firm reminder that ‘the treaty obligations are clear, the Euro is to be introduced when the convergence criteria are met’. For Poland there is no option to consult the people, no opt-out, no possibility of preserving fiscal sovereignty: ‘The Euro is part and parcel of becoming part of the EU, joining was ratified by referendum, including the Euro too.’ said the Commission official.
His Grace finds the political certitude of the European Commission a quasi-theological construct; it is teleological philosophy, in which there is one foreknown direction and one fore-ordained outcome. Plebiscites are regarded as highly risky. Dissenting voices are ignored or ridiculed, and any inconvenient referenda results are ignored.
His Grace’s loyal, erudite and intelligent communicant, Mr Colin, has quoted Sir Frederick Forsyth (he is actually a mere CBE, but his knighthood is long overdue) at length on the post below, and he provides a link to the whole speech. He posits one possible way forward - a successor to the strategy deployed by Sir James Goldsmith in the General Election of 1997:
What we have to seek, what we have to demand until the pressure becomes relentless, is a national referendum. It’s not as weird as it sounds. The first ever held in this country was held by a Labour Prime Minister called Harold Wilson in 1975. We have never had a national referendum since... We are, I believe, entitled to another one, on a number of grounds... every nation in Europe has had a referendum on an aspect of the EU since 1975... I believe that we can say with complete justification, we’re entitled to one. We are entitled to revisit 1975. We should demand, not I fear of the Labour party, I think we should demand of the Conservative party. But demanding is all very well; people have been demanding things like law and order, good policing, a bobby in the village, a copper on the street. It doesn’t change a damn thing. But you know things can occasionally change, even the Labour party. You may remember the 1997 election, that the one thing that the late James Goldsmith did actually bequeath to this country is that he frightened John Major into guaranteeing that we would not abolish the pound sterling without a referendum...
The only way to be heard, to be listened to and to be abided by, is to speak softly and carry one hell of a big stick. If those out there in the constituencies and the shires, those on the constituency associations can make it quite plain that this MP is not coming back to the house unless the Conservative leader gives a pledge that within twelve months of entering Downing Street he will grant this nation a national referendum. At the point where they know that they are going to lose fifty seats they’ll buckle, despite the screams of Clarke, Heseltine and Patten. They will buckle despite the whinging of Hurd and Howe. They will buckle because politics is about reality. The reality is, if it is clear to the present leadership that you are not going to enter Downing Street, because quite simply two to three or maybe even up to four million loyal Tory voters are going to mow the lawn on polling day, they will grant the referendum...
How long, O Lord, how long?