The Boiling Frog writes about An Internal Dilemma and refers to events of 2008 and links to Hansard in relation to a debate that took place in the HoC about the Lisbon Treaty and the question whether the British people should be granted a referendum.,
TBF quotes one exchange relating to Gisela Suart and Malcolm Bruce, an exchange that set me off reading the entire debate. Where ‘democracy’ is concerned there are other examples in this debate worth mentioning.
Col 1780: Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): …… Given that four out of 10 voters decided not to vote at the last election and that we were returned by only 21 per cent. of the total electorate….. So representative democracy creates a situation wherein just 21% of those eligible to vote can decide which group of ideological idiots gets to decide our future?
Col 1811: Mr. Ian Davidson (Glasgow, South-West) (Lab/Co-op): …..There is an assumption that politicians and parties cannot be trusted and that we will say anything to get elected. That is not constructive or helpful, particularly to those of us on the left, because we depend on popular support to put forward a programme that seizes some of the instruments of power and changes society in the way that we want….. Democracy cannot exist if a few can seize instruments of power and mold society into a form they want, regardless of the wishes of those in said society.
Col 1816: Mr. Ian Davidson: …..I always thought that being a Liberal Front-Bench spokesman was somewhat akin to being a eunuch in a harem—singularly decorative, but not particularly useful…… Never mind Liberal Front-Bench spokesman, that description can be applied to all those on the Green Benches where the actual governance of this country is concerned.
I am intrigued with the ‘logic’ held by Ken Clarke (Col 1819/1820) in that having confirmed the United Kingdom has pooled its sovereignty, he can then argue about whether or not the Lisbon Treaty cedes further powers. If sovereignty has been ceded then the exercise of power per se has been ceded – end of discussion.
It is worth highlighting the speech by Kate Hoey (Col 1843/1844) about honesty in politics. Bearing in mind that which she said – and linking back to the statement by Malcolm Bruce that TBF selected – it would appear that the ensuing vote presented Bruce with the ‘internal dilemma’ that he feared; namely Parliament voted against the wishes of the people.
I now turn to the paper by Gisela Stuart: The Making Of Europe’s Constitution to which TBF links. It is indeed worth reading in its entirety – and not just for the section TBF recommends. In this paper there is much with which one can take Gisela Stuart to task, however with the aim of brevity let us just look at the question of democracy (within the meaning and derivation of the word).
On pages 30/31 Gisela Stuart makes the point that the Acquis presents a contradiction where subsidiarity is concerned and the taking of decisions at the lowest possible level; coupled with the point that a power ceded is never returned. As a believer in representative democracy (which she is) she too has a contradiction in belief to confront. Like all such politicians she preaches that the opinions/views of the people are important – yet if the people are as important as she and her ilk maintain then one has to ask why they, the people, are considered the ‘lowest’ level in their political hierarchy? Reverting to the definition of ‘democracy’ it is surely obvious that it is the people who are the ‘deciders’ where anything concerning their country is involved, be that local or national; thus illustrating that representative democracy is but a form of dictatorship by a minority.
On pages 42/43 Stuart writes about the devolution of power to Scotland and Wales, making the point that it has not brought about the break-up of the United Kingdom. With the benefit of hindsight it is suggested she may wish to look at this assertion once more. Where a political construct is set up involving the element of central control – be that the EU or the UK – once one aspect of power is ceded, it is only natural that those to whom a power has been given will want more power for themselves. With that in mind it is logical to assume that the EU, having seen what the problems resulting from the return of powers in the UK has produced, they will not be that keen to return any of the powers they already have. Dream on The Fresh Start group and David Cameron!
On page 52 Stuart writes about the ability of holding our masters to account and the people asking whether they can get rid of their elected representatives if they, the people, don’t like what is being done in their name; continuing that this has always been a problem with the European institutions. That is not just a problem with European institutions – it is the problem with our Parliament and thus the problem with representative democracy. What Stuart appears to not understand is that some of us do not want to necessarily get rid of politicians we disagree with – merely to negate the need to disagree with them by ensuring a system exists wherein they carry out the wishes of the people in the first place; an aim that would be achieved by the implementation of direct democracy as encapsulated within the 6 Demands.
On page 53 Stuart makes a fair point about the farce of European elections – but then immediately suggests a solution which can but promote and thus hasten political union, while on the following page she suggests that MEPs should be allowed to partake in proceedings of the HoC.
On page 55 she demonstrates her wish for a successful European Union and confirming her long-held belief in its existence – yet this is a woman who would have us believe she is of Eurosceptic beliefs. Further compounding the view that she would appear a tad ‘befuddled’ is her wish for more accountability where her masters are concerned, yet she would deny that same wish from us. Not that she is the only one who appears ‘befuddled – even this man, another ‘Eurosceptic’, states he does not wish to leave the European Union.
It would seem that among our political elite are many who would like their cake and eat it. In which context I end with two attributed quotations:
A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
H. L. Mencken
Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence.
Lemuel K. Washburn