Friday, 25 May 2012

Revealed: The reason the pro-EU lobby don't want a referendum

by Marc Glendening

'We can't have a referendum because I can't think of any good arguments for the EU': The true anti-democratic nature of EU-elitism exposed!

Gaby Hinsliff had a very interesting and revealing article in The Guardian ('Ed Miliband, you stoke this anti-Europe fire at your peril', May 21) earlier this week.

She was commenting on the growing number of prominent Labour figures - Peter Mandelson, Ed Balls, Alan Johnson and now new party policy supremo, John Cruddas - who have all recently argued that there will need to be a referendum on EU membership.

The possibility that Ed Miliband might boldly go where Harold Wilson dared to venture during the two 1974 general election campaigns and cause havoc for Cameron and Clegg by making the promise that he would, if prime minister, give the British people the chance to decide who governs them, fills Gaby with fear.

Why? Because, she concedes: "Any future yes-to-Europe campaign is now seriously short of compelling arguments." Yes, the project of building a centralised, top-down, Brussels based system of government has indeed, some of us would argue, been rendered redundant by the liberalisation of world trade, the shift in power from west to east, the new technology and demographic change (among other factors).

Gaby is like a mystic who having seen her belief in supranatural powers demolished by the onward march of science still cannot let go of her pre-modern faith. This would be fine if this was just a personal matter. She could happily wrestle with her inner contradictions till the cows come home.

However, there are sinister implications in relation to her opposition to an EU referendum. She is effectively saying that she wishes the political class will continue to deny us the right to decide who gets to make the key decisions over our lives, because she does not have the arguments to persuade us to share her EU dogma.

There is an implicit, well perhaps not so implicit, authoritarianism with many - but by no means all - on the pro-EU side. While there are honourable pro-EUists, such as former Europe minister Keith Vaz and Ian McKenzie, director of the People's Pledge EU referendum campaign, who do believe the people should be entrusted with a say, the likes of Shirley Williams and Denis McShane are adamant that we should not be given a vote on this question.

The majority of EU-elitists are up-dated versions of nineteenth century Tory elitists who thought the working classes and women were too imbecilic to have the franchise extended to them.

Sadly, Gaby Hinsliff appears to come in this category too. At the conclusion of her article she writes: "It's immoral to refuse a vote on Europe lest the people give the 'wrong' answer': but it's certifiably mad to start this fight without knowing you could win."

This is classic Guardian 1984 double-think/newspeak, professing to believe in democracy whilst simultaneously ruling it out unless the right result can be guaranteed beforehand.

At least the trad Tory opponents of universal franchise had the grace to honestly and proudly proclaim their anti-democratic politics.

by Marc Glendening

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