...a blog by Richard Flowers

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 2721: There was this Englishman, Irishman and European…


The problem with Europe ISN'T Europe… it's how Europe has been DONE.

We need to go back to the people and find what THEY want of Europe and bring them back on board!

One thing that ISN'T going to happen, whatever Irish voters or British Conservatories say, is for the Lisbon Treaty to be scrapped.

The leaders of this project – M. Sarcastic in France, Ms Meercat in Germany, Mr Manual Barrister and his Eurocrats, even Mr Frown – have invested too much time, money and politics for them to just shrug and say "okie-dokie we'll do something else."

That is why Great Britain is going ahead and ratifying the Treaty even though, if you follow the PROPER rules, it ought to be dead.

You need twenty-seven out of twenty-seven nations to agree and Ireland has said "no".

"The Union must give Ireland time," says Mr Frown.

Sorry, but time for WHAT? He means time to change their mind. The arrogance of the man!

For whatever reason, and however wrong or deceived by the no campaign they might be, Ireland said "no".

But it isn't going to stop them finding some fudge and get-round, an extra clause promising the Irish extra helpings of pudding probably, and gold plating on the promises (that already exist) of neutrality and not looking askance at the whole no-abortions thing.

This will only make matters WORSE.

People are already pretty cross about not being given their own voice in this process. When they see that even if they HAD their own voice it would get ignored if they said the "wrong" answer… well, they'll be madder than hell!

The debate over Europe has become a clash between two HUGE groups of vested interests.

On the one side are the trades unions that see Europe as a way of protecting their members, in strange alliance with the corporations that benefit hugely from Europe, the agribusinesses and fisheries industries – not the individual farmers and fishers, but the businesses that use them as captured suppliers – who are supported by subsidies and protectionism and internal free trade.

They like to PRESENT themselves as speaking for five hundred million Europeans, though who actually asked them to speak?

On the other side are the globalised industries that want to MINIMISE the power of a body that might REGULATE them. That is why the xenophobes and frothing Euro-nuts get all the backing they could want from Mr Roger Stavro Moredick and his multi-media rottweilers.

Of course, the anti-Europe brigade and their retired Brigadiers like to PRETEND that they are plucky little underdogs, sticking up for against the so-called Euro elite, all the gravy-trainers and hangers-on, the bureaucrats and lawyers and lobbyists who are perceived as being the people who benefit from there just BEING a Europe; a group who may or may not even exist!

What has happened to the PEOPLE though? Where is the INDIVIDUAL's interest in what is going on in Europe?

I suspect that people actually LIKE the benefits of plentiful food, easy travel to exotic destinations, and generally the whole not-having-a-major-war-in-Western-Europe-in-almost-everybody's-lifetimes. What they DON'T see is how having a President of Europe will make any of that any better.

What people really DON'T like is seeing the Common Agricultural Policy in action. The IRONY of course is that the Europhobes have so effectively taken that dislike of money being wasted and of petty regulations being imposed by faceless foreigners and turned it into opposition to giving Europe the powers actually to DEAL with that sort of thing.

Europe is lumbered with weak democratic institutions precisely because the people who are against it won't let us share the power and responsibilities. They insist on Europe being UNDEMOCRATIC and then point and whine about how UNDEMOCRATIC it is.

But, and like my fluffy behind it is a BIG but, those leaders of Europe have been all too happy to connive in this scam, because if it IS undemocratic then they get to control it all.

As Liberal Democrats, and in particular as DEMOCRATS, we really must be there putting the case for a more DEMOCRATIC Europe, a Europe that pauses to ask its five hundred million people just what it is that THEY want.

I think that we might need to start by making the case within our OWN Party. Much as I might agree with the HONESTY of Sir Mr the Merciless's "Europe: in or out" all-or-nothing referendum, I think we have BRUISED our reputation for Trust in People by going along with the Labour in pushing this Treaty through. The Conservatories – nasty though they be; dishonest as their "let's hold a poll we're bound to win and don't have to do anything ABOUT" policy is; deceitful about their real feelings towards Europe that they are – have stolen a march on us by LOOKING more democratic than us. Surely that is deeply EMBARRASSING!

Let's face it: this one has been a MESS. But you cannot win them all.

What we need to do now is SEIZE THE FUTURE. The Conservatories will keep on and on about this one; let them. People will get BORED. Mr Balloon ultimately has no answer to what to do about Europe other than say "no".

And just saying "no" is NOT good enough. You end up sat next to the most powerful trading block on the planet, looking on powerless.

We need to put people BACK IN CHARGE of making Europe BETTER. That's a BETTER answer.

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