Thursday, January 24, 2008

Three good reasons why we canot have a referendum

Simon Jenkins is on excellent form in a piece for today's Guardian, (I cannot remember ever having thought that before but hey there is more joy in heaven and all that).

He defines the three key arguements for why we should not have a choice about our future,
Let us assume for the sake of argument that Blair was wrong and Brown and Miliband are right. Let us assume that the mechanisms by which Britons are governed can be determined not by British electors or partisan cabinets (or even royal commissioners) but by former French presidents at chateau seminars. This is what I call the "Holy Roman Empire" case for the treaty.

Let us further assume that subtleties of modern government are such that ordinary people cannot hope in future to understand them, and that they are best left to a sophisticated supranational oligarchy: the "Brussels Raj" case. Let us finally assume that the rights of Europe's minorities - even of entire states - are too trivial to be allowed to impede interests with most leverage on the Council of Ministers: the "majoritarian dictatorship". (I had better add the ontological, or Liberal Democrat, case: that because Europe exists anything tagged European is good.)
As he says,
This stance is tenable only if Britons are willing participants in this "ever closer union", and many are unwilling. Not asking them will not increase their willingness. It will be worse than undemocratic, it will be foolish.

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