Thursday, 20 December 2012
Yesterday, it was reported in the Telegraph that the US Administration was concerned at the prospect of the UK leaving the EU – following Cameron’s announcement, on Monday, that this was an imaginable outcome of the current concerns by the public on this matter.
UKIP should be congratulated in creating the circumstances whereby the issue has been pushed up the agenda by recording its highest ever rating in a recent ComRes survey, moving up from 6% to 9% in the past month – even if their greater popularity, mostly at the expense of the Tories, is likely to ensure a Labour victory at the next General Election and a move ‘closer to the heart of Europe’.
What the article does help to explain is why successive prime ministers have avoided holding a referendum on the subject, over many years, even though at times there has been a huge desire by the people – not only for a referendum, but a clear majority wishing to leave. In fact this was the very reason UKIP was originally formed back in 1991.
Perhaps the greatest demonstration of this defiance of the will of the people was by Gordon Brown when he ratified the Lisbon Treaty, which was accurately described by the Sun with the headline – ‘Britain betrayed as hated EU Treaty becomes law’ after the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, signed in November 2009 it went on to explain:
‘Only Britain’s most fundamental abilities to defend itself and set taxes is not affected by [the] Lisbon [Treaty] with our veto on defence and fiscal policy not affected.’
Klaus, who had held out from signing the treaty for nearly two years and according to the Sun ‘echoed the fears of many Britons after signing through gritted teeth [!].
He said in Prague: “With the Lisbon Treaty taking effect, the Czech Republic will cease to be a sovereign state.”‘
The extent of Brown’s betrayal was known at the time for the ‘I Want a Referendum’ campaign had balloted more than 150,000 people and this showed that 88% of these wanted a referendum on the Treaty. At the time around two thirds, of those who had expressed an opinion, had said they would vote against the Treaty being ratified if a referendum had been held.
Although from time to time there are highly controversial issues that arise in politics – this was stark, particularly since Brown’s decision to ratify was not of a temporary agreement – this Treaty was the final act in a process designed to bring ever closer union among the people of Europe permanently.
Why would Brown, an unelected prime minister, be prepared to take such an immense step? We had seen at the time leading to the Iraq war how, following a visit to the US, Blair had become President Bush’s poodle with regard to this illegal war – was Brown just following in the steps of his predecessor? This does not quite fit with Brown’s reputation for stubbornness.
The advantage or disadvantage to the nation of being part of the EU was not clear then – as is the case now – so it is difficult to believe this was his motivation. However, what is very likely true is that our highly ambitious leading politicians would not wish to lose their current overblown status which allows them to stride the world stage and make grave statements, reported throughout the global media, by becoming just the leader of a middle ranking and declining nation whose primary concern was to improve the wellbeing of the people of these islands.
It seems unlikely we will ever regain our sovereignty and have the ability to govern the nation for the benefit of the people under the present form of representative democracy. Some form of Direct Democracy is needed whereby the people are engaged in the decisions made by the government so that the ambitions of our politicians are not allowed to determine, alone, what laws and international agreements are made.
If such a system can be introduced - there is every chance that democracy could be reintroduced and the nation governed in accordance with the 'Will of the People'.