Democracy “at the European level”

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There was a letter in the Daily Telegraph on November 23rd from a Liz Beeson in Dorset.  She says that UKIP is prejudiced against a basic freedom of choice in education, employment and health.  I’m wondering which UKIP she’s talking about, because it’s not the one I joined in March 2012.  Indeed I moved from the Conservative Party to a more democratic, libertarian party precisely because I had decided that the Tories weren’t interested in freedom of choice in education (grammar schools?) and employment (EU directives?).  We in UKIP are demanding self-determination and democracy in our country — something that Conservatives used to support.  Which is perhaps why so many former Conservatives (and indeed former members of other parties and of no party) are coming to join us.

We recently had a little kerfuffle in the press over UKIP’s vote last week in Strasbourg on the “Single Seat” issue.  UKIP has always been firmly opposed to two seats for the European parliament (indeed we’re opposed to any seat at all — let’s disband it).  So we attracted some stick in the left-wing media, especially the Mirror, when we abstained on the vote. But the reason was simple: although we agreed with the substantive point, the text on which we voted (co-drafted by Tory MEP Ashley Fox) had a mass of verbiage praising the European parliament as the essence of democracy “at the European level”.  We don’t think it is.  And more fundamentally, we believe that the whole idea of “European democracy” is a snare and a delusion, a deliberate device to create a spurious façade of democracy where none exists.  We simply could not vote to endorse that.

I explained this, very briefly, in a Tweet, and I got a reply from a Matthew Cunliffe, snidely observing that “UKIP couldn’t support a text praising European democracy”, and adding “That says it all”.  Indeed it does, Matthew (or most of it), but not at all in the way you imagine.  I replied “Just so Matthew. Because democracy needs a “demos”, and the EU doesn’t have one. Says it all”.  But let me expand a bit.

It’s not just about counting votes.  That’s arithmetic, not democracy.  Democracy starts with a demos, a people or constituency who feel that they are, in some sense, “in the same boat”.  It is this sense of being part of a group that legitimises majority decisions.  So if a decision is made in Westminster, I may disagree with it, but generally speaking I accept its legitimacy.  But if it’s made in Brussels by an alliance of Lithuanians, Slovaks, Croatians, Greeks and Portuguese, then I certainly don’t accept its legitimacy.   Why do these people have any right to make decisions affecting me and my constituents in the UK?

And if you reply “They have that right because we signed treaties that gave them that right”, I reply that we should never have signed such treaties, and that we should be Better Off Out. 

John Stuart Mill put it well in the 19th Century, long before the European Union was a twinkle in Jean Monnet’s eye.  “Among a people without fellow-feeling, especially if they read and speak different languages, the united public opinion, necessary to the working of the representative government, cannot exist”. What foresight!  He characterises the EU perfectly, and explains in a few words why European democracy cannot be meaningful.

Enoch Powell said much the same thing, arguing that democratic legitimacy depended on a people who shared enough in common in terms of history, language, culture and economic interests that they were prepared “to accept governance at each others’ hands”.  I love that phrase.  But clearly the EU’s 28 member states do not constitute such a people.

It seems to me self-evident that both Mill and Powell were right on this point.  Democracy without broad consent is not democracy at all.  Democracy “at the European level” is a Potemkin Village.  It cannot exist.  The European parliament is a fraud, designed to deceive the population into believing they have some say in their governance when clearly they do not.  My only excuse for remaining part of it is to destroy it from within — or at least to get Britain out.  Other member-states must determine their own fate.

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20 Responses to Democracy “at the European level”

  1. Me_Again says:

    Well said sir.
    Any ideas on how to wake the slumbering masses to the danger?

  2. My reply to Me_Again. Is, to drop a bomb on them then they may just wake up. I have the same problem with my fellow neighbours in our retirement village, they take the attitude of mustn’t upset the Management, who after all are our Servants as we PAY them to provide a Service through our Service Charge, but, they take the view that they are Our Masters and take a view of being able to Dictate to Us in a Cavalier Fashion. Much the same as the EU, don’t you agree? And, to make matters worse, a Hymn sung in Church on Sunday Morning Service was to that dreadful tune proclaimed as being the EU Anthem! Disgraceful.

    • Me_Again says:

      Beethoven’s 9th? Yes I know what you mean. I view that misuse of beautiful music in the same dim light as when British airways hijacked Delebes Lakme.

      As to waking them up, the only things I could think of were to switch off ‘Corrie’, ‘Strictly’ and the X factor, and blame the EU……just sit back and wait for the bang then.

      Do you suppose we could get our secret employee Barosso to switch them off? That would surely do it in under the time for a 100m sprint.

  3. Mike Spilligan says:

    Legitimacy is the key word here. How can any of the stages of the EU “project” – from our accession to the EEC via the EC – be legitimate when every one was based on a succession of prevarications, platitudes and outright lies?

  4. If you are able to be clairvoyant, then maybe you could put that question to Ted Heath, and the Lecturers of my daughter who persuaded her, and she persuaded me in return to Vote to Join The Common Market. That was a Trade Deal, not a Government Body such as the EU!

  5. neil craig says:

    Note the number of anti-UKIP letters the papers are publishing & lack of pro-UKIP ones. Either (1) conspiracy or (2) nobody is writing any pro-UKIP ones and I can say from personal experience that it isn’t (2).

  6. Alan Bailey says:

    I admit that I was taken in by the false statements of the first and only referendum. I was young, naive and believed the lies, hoping for a level playing field with prices the same as the other member states – especially petrol,fags ‘n booze! I am a cynical grumpy old git who believs that all politicians are incapable of telling the truth, putting this country first and milking the system to feather their own nest.
    I HOPE UKIP PROVES ME WRONG!

  7. Mike Stallard says:

    Roger, can you get as many EU enthusiasts as possible – preferably Dutch or German – to come over to the UK to tell us their plans for the future of the EU?
    We all know (on here) what those plans are because M. Barroso constantly tells everyone who will listen: more Europe. If his henchmen could come over and tell everyone their plans for us, maybe – just maybe – if they were very over exposed – they might just get through to the real demos….

    The other positive thing is to work on union with the Conservatives, except for the fact that Mr Cameron is as pro-EU as M. Barroso. I think everyone realises that unless the right pulls together in 2015 – little over a year’s time – Mc McCluskey will be elected. And then, God help us!

    • Me_Again says:

      Tick for the first point Mike, shove the second.

      • Mike Spilligan says:

        Correct, Me-again: As a UKIPper I really can’t see any mileage in co-operation with the Tories at any level as a vote-winner; it will merely dilute our message and the Tories will say (what they’ve already been saying) “We are really the same as UKIP”, and that is an outright lie which will discourage former, but doubting, Labour voters from “coming over”. It’s a good strategy for the Tory party.

      • Me_Again says:

        As you say Eccles, if people can see a direct link between the two then why vote for the smaller one?
        Secondly there are a growing number of members who would no longer be members if a deal with the Tories was done -me for a start. Any chance of luring away those former socialists, or former voters who don’t bother because they can’t see any difference and therefore any point, would be gone too.
        Still as UKIP is very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, I shouldn’t be at all surprised.
        Your last point is most signal. If Nige and Co even begin a negotiation, or said negotiation became public, then it would be all over for us as a ‘libertarian party’

        Mike Stallard, it sounds like you are missing your old mates. Perhaps you should consider a return? You’d be welcomed like a prodigal -but never trusted with the raffle again……

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