Democracy Dies in Britain
The British government’s refusal to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty will hammer the last nail into the coffin of British democracy. By Ron Fraser
A system of government practiced in some Athenian regions during the fifth century b.c. was given the title by the Greeks, “demokratia.” From a combination of the Greek terms demos, meaning people, and kratos, meaning rule, the process literally meant “government by the people.”
Sir Winston Churchill referred to it as “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Its earliest documented form in modern history was the Magna Carta. It is enshrined in British law. It supplied the foundation for the American Constitution. In that context, Abraham Lincoln termed it, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Democracy as we know it is that form of government made popular by the English-speaking peoples throughout their time of global dominance. It has permitted freedom of speech and expression, and the freedom to practice one’s religion, freedoms largely denied by the form of government that dominated Europe for so long in its form as the Holy Roman Empire.
Given their many faults, it has to be said of the free democracies of Western civilization that they have overseen the protection of the rights, obligations and freedoms that have underpinned the most stable societies throughout the past 400 years against their periodic onslaught by tyranny.
But true democracy is, within this 21st century, increasingly being pushed onto the back foot.
By definition, within Western civilization “democracy” has come to mean “government by the people; especially: rule of the majority: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections” (Merriam Webster).
Judged by such a definition, the absolute refusal by the British government to permit the people to have their say on whether or not to sign over their national sovereignty to an imperialist European superstate is entirely undemocratic.
In fact, it borders on being the exact opposite of democratic government.
It is rule by diktat.
There can surely be nothing more undemocratic than the refusal to permit the just representation of the will of the people, especially when the government in power is made aware that fully two thirds of its national electorate favors the opposite action to that which the government is determined to pursue. Such is the state of parliamentary democracy in Britain today.
The sheer bull-headedness demonstrated by the present British liberal-socialist government’s stated intention to ram its own will through over the will of the people in the debate over whether or not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty—the latest and most subversive treaty on European Union to date—tramples on general public opinion, which is supposed to be a major influence on government policy within a democratic society.
How come we take such note of public opinion when it comes to seducing it away from those moral standards of a society that once underpinned its greatness, yet we turn our back on such generally expressed opinion when it balks at handing over its historically hard-won sovereign powers to a foreign entity?
Polls indicate that between two thirds and three quarters of the British electorate are against signing the latest European treaty. In ordinary times, that would be hint enough to any democratic government that to sign up to that treaty will spell future civil disruption of a significant order by a disgruntled electorate once it realizes the full extent of the loss of its freedoms.
This week, a British member of Parliament and seven other eminent Britons—including a member of the European Parliament—put their signatures to a declaration published in the Times newspaper declaring that the Lisbon Treaty threatens “the livelihoods, businesses and government of the British people” (January 21).
Within the context of their declaration, the seven stated that they “believe that its proposals have immense constitutional significance amounting to a ‘fundamental change’ to the way in which the UK is governed. This warrants a referendum in accordance with the government’s own criteria for a referendum” (emphasis mine throughout).
Foreshadowing tremendous disruption to the traditional British way of life, the signatories to this declaration stated, “The Lisbon Treaty represents a fundamental threat to the livelihoods, businesses and government of the British people, and they must have their say on a matter of such vital national interest. It will reduce their sovereign Parliament to the status of a chatting-shop and their elected members of Parliament to nothing more than administrators of European laws.”
Ever since the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 laid the groundwork for the elimination of national sovereignty, national boundaries, sovereign means of exchange, the subsuming of national laws, statutes and regulations into an imposed system regulated by central authority in Brussels with increasingly strong influence from Berlin, voices within Britain have been warning of the grave dangers to British society that the European Union—especially a European Constitution—poses.
One of the most clearly articulated arguments as to the source of the current European imperialist push and its impact on the British is the book Treason at Maastricht by Rodney Atkinson and the late Norris McWhirter. The argument put forward by Atkinson and McWhirter clearly proves the case for treason against the British government of the time for signing up to that watershed European treaty. Had John Major’s government resisted signing that document 16 years ago, Gordon Brown’s government of today would not be faced with the ignominious decision it has taken to deny the British public their right to a referendum on the latest treaty that has evolved since Maastricht. This present perverse Lisbon Treaty is a veritable European Constitution in disguise that will hammer home the final nail in the democracy that once was Great Britain.
But it is not only Britain that will be affected by the Brown government’s yielding to the will of the Eurocrats. Every democratic nation that is a member of the EU will suffer the same fate. Yet the voices for freedom and democracy within Europe are being effectively ignored, or even worse, silenced.
The full extent of bipartisan support for the Euroskeptics’ call for referendums on signing the Lisbon Treaty was revealed last October when a petition signed by concerned people from every single EU member nation was presented to No. 10 Downing Street. This was done in an effort to get the British government to fulfill its obligation to hold a referendum on the issue, an obligation which Mr. Brown is not only denying to fulfill to the British public, but one which he has overtly canvassed against any other EU national leaders offering to their own constituents.
Concerning that petition, the Daily Telegraph reported, “But the new pan-European campaign is proof that referendum fever is not confined to Britain. The group spans the full political spectrum in EU politics, from conservative Eurosceptics to socialists, liberals and greens, and even Tony Blair’s former economic adviser …. It also includes academics, former diplomats and [a film star]. In their letter, the group says: ‘The adoption of this far-reaching document without referendums would further decrease the legitimacy of the EU and seriously damage democracy in Europe’” (Oct. 20, 2007).
It seems that petition had little effect.
On January 9, Prime Minister Brown joined in concert with President Sarkozy of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany to pressure Portugal’s prime minister, José Sócrates, from holding a referendum demanded by the Portuguese public on whether or not their nation should sign up to the Lisbon Treaty. Under pressure from the big three, Mr. Sócrates caved in, denying the democratic right of a referendum on the issue to the Portuguese.
As the Times reported, “The decision by Portugal not to hold a referendum but to ratify the treaty through its parliament will come as a huge relief to Downing Street and the Élysée Palace, which feared extra pressure on them to hold a public vote. The revelation of top-level phone calls will, though, only increase suspicions that the European political elite have coordinated efforts to avoid a repeat of the referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005 that sank the proposed constitution and plunged the EU into a two-year crisis” (January 10).
The Times was referring to the two instances in 2005 when democracy was tested by two EU member nations and plainly revealed a stance by the electorates against European centralization. In separate referenda held in France and the Netherlands, 55 percent of French voters rejected the European Constitution despite the support of both main political parties, while in Holland, 61.6 percent of Dutch voters rejected the constitution despite the united backing of the main political parties, trade union movements and most leading newspapers.
With this disturbing recent history of the dangers that true democracy holds for the European Unionists’ dream, they could ill afford further disruption to the pursuit of their imperialist goals by holding more referenda on the European Constitution. So they resorted to subterfuge by embedding their latest imperialist goals within the body of the rejected European Constitution, including transferring jurisdiction to the EU in crucial aspects of member nations’ systems of criminal justice and immigration, energy policy, the appointment of an EU president to manage the political affairs of the 27 states within the EU bloc, and foreign minister assuming control over member states’ foreign policy, together with mandating a clear systems subordination of their individual parliaments to the mighty EU. Then they simply gave the document another name. By terming it just another “treaty” and doing away with the nasty “constitution” word, the Eurocrats hoped to mask the true intent of their efforts to get their way by hook or by crook.
A more crooked initiative of anti-democratic intellectual thuggery would be hard to imagine.
With a compliant presidency at the helm (the current six-month Slovenian presidency of the EU has indicated that ratifying the treaty smoothly has become one of its top priorities, indicating that it will “not tackle anything deemed too controversial in EU states where ratification is most controversial,” namely Britain and Portugal), the European Constitution, aka “Lisbon Treaty,” is now commencing a year of ironing out any technical glitches that would impede its smooth passage to ratification in January 2009.
Veil the British bastion of democracy—hail Holy Roman Empire!
For more information on this subject, read Alan and Pat Franklin's book,
Goodbye America, Goodbye Britain, available from our webshop.
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