Yesterday I mentioned that Bernard Jenkin is of the opinion that those elected have the sole right to decide who can and cannot enter this country. Today we find Douglas Carswell proposing exactly the same: It is those elected to Bern or Canberra – not faceless officials in Brussels – who decide on who gets to live in Switzerland and Australia. And because those elected take responsibility for immigration policy, immigration policy in both Australia and Switzerland has adapted to the needs of each country……If those we elected to Parliament – and vulnerable to the views of the voters - were responsible, we might begin to have an intelligent debate about what kind of immigration we need.
Carswell is someone who believes in parliamentary democracy, ie the sovereignty of parliament and that those elected should be those who make decisions on behalf of the people. He is, however, someone who also believes that with the introduction of Open Primaries and Recall this somehow makes those elected ‘more answerable’ to the people. This is typical Carswell (and Hannan) ‘hogwash’ – it is impossible to have direct democracy (for which Carswell and Hannan would have us believe they are advocates) and maintain the sovereignty of Parliament – the two are incompatible. We can only have one or the other.
Within the UK the people have no voice as to who can and cannot enter their country, for whatever reason. Only three days ago I wrote about the fact that the Swiss people will, on 9th February 2014, have the ability to decide on quotas with regard to immigration. The difference twixt the peoples of Switzerland and the UK is that in Switzerland it is the people who are sovereign, resulting in their politicians being but instruments of the people’s will – now that is direct democracy!
No doubt, were that referendum carried, the Swiss government – as they did when the people voted ‘no more minarets’ - would complain that they had signed treaties that allowed, in effect, ‘unfettered immigration’, with one or two conditions. To which the Swiss people’s response will no doubt be the same, namely: they had better go ‘unsign’ them.
On that question of treaties, it is worth recalling Demand #4 of the 6 Demands, which states: no legislation or treaty shall take effect without the direct consent of the majority of the people, by positive vote if so demanded, and that no legislation or treaty shall continue to have effect when that consent is withdrawn by the majority of the people; in other words, that which has been done can – and if so demanded by the people – be undone. That one point, in itself, might just make politicians think before they act – and make them insert the required caveat when they sign owt.
It seems to me that the likes of Carswell and Hannan either accept, in total, the principles of direct democracy – or not. If the latter, then perhaps (a) they should publicly acknowledge that fact; and (b), leave the political field and thence keep the mouths zipped!
It is worth making the point that those who ridicule Switzerland and their system of democracy, maintaining that it amounts to mob rule, should go look at that country’s unemployment figures; their balance of payments, their standard of living levels; their trade balances – not bad for ‘mob rule’, is it?
Where Carswell and Hannan are concerned with their ‘controlled direct democracy’ one has but 6 words to offer them: Back to the drawing board lads.