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        « If you only read one thing today, read this... | Main | 67% of Britons want EU referendum to go ahead »


        Simon C

        This is a great opportunity for conservatives. To repeat my posting in another thread (sorry): these events support the critique that we have been making for some time: that the EU is too remote from the people of Europe; that there is no transparency or accountability; that the EU is wrongly seeking competencies in relation to issues that ought to be the subject of vigorous national debate in elections.

        The French may think the constitution too Anglo-Saxon - in Britain we may think it's too bureacratic & centralist. That doesn't make us both wrong. Far from it - what it does mean is that the EU project has gone too far in dictating what policies nation states should pursue and what should be left to national electorates.

        It will be entertaining watching new-found converts with previously impeccably euro-phile credentials wriggle as they try to explain that this all fits with their long-held beliefs. Stephen Byers was at it on TWAT today.

        However, we mustn't let this amusement distract us from getting on with the urgent work of quashing any attempt to re-introduce the constitution in piecemeal fashion, and, more importantly, ensuring that there is some more "creative destruction" so that slimmer leaner EU institutions can be re-fashioned in a way that enables Europe to compete with emerging markets in the rest of the world - China and India in particular. Who knows, we might even end up with a Commission that can pass the auditors. Or is that too much to hope for?

        This is a chance to set out a positive vision for an outward-looking New Europe, that engages with the world as it is and understands the aspirations of European people and peoples.

        A little like the task facing the party at home as well.

        Daniel P Dykes

        Well across the other side of the world in Australia the EU Referendum, and all the implications, are hardly a 10 second spot on the news. But the picture I've formed up from what is available in Australia and what I've read online is that one could consider this a stand for Old Europe; that is, the Europe of proud, patriotic countries. The opposite may be the EU, some overly-PC mish-mash of countries trying to fuse one large 'nation body' despite vastly different cultures.

        Tony W

        Does anybody else have the sensation that we have been here before? Are you thinking what I am thinking?
        Against the original predictions and despite entreaties from the political elite in Paris and Brussels, the French electorate delivered a clear “non” to the EU Constitution; Holland quickly followed with an even clearer “nee”. Yet, even as these events were taking place, commentators were speculating about what might happen next. Would the bureaucrats simply find another route to their goal? Would Blair cancel the UK referendum? What would be the effect of the latter?
        I have never had difficulty with the principle of a United States of Europe; however, what we have borne witness to, possibly since the Treaty of Rome and undoubtedly since Maastricht, is the heedless avalanche towards a federal Europe at maximum speed and with minimum attention to the wishes of the populaces. Nations have governments; governments do not have nations. The extent of the dislocation between the governance of the EU and the national electorates could hardly have been more graphically illustrated than in France and the Netherlands. It seems to me that commentators should now focus on this dislocation and the covert, anti-democratic institution that the EU has become. If we allow democracy to be discarded in this way, we can hardly complain about the numerous abuses elsewhere, especially in the developing world.
        It also seems to be the case that the EU is plagued by fraud, and by the gravy-train mentality that goes with it. It is equally anti-democratic for the European Parliament to show itself to be so completely unwilling to tackle the fraud issue whilst continuing to pocket disproportionate allowances for activities completed at a small fraction of the cost allowed for them. Sadly, we have to accept that dishonesty and deceit are features of all large organisations, but the sheer scale of the EU’s lack of probity is what marks it out as undemocratic. It would seem to be the case that the bureaucracy, headed by the Commission, as well as the MEPs (with some conspicuous and honourable exceptions) believe that the public is incapable of grasping the demeaning aspects of corruption that lie at its heart, or of recognising the worth of supra-national power, regardless of how it is exercised. The referendums, instead of triggering recognition within the EU elite, seems merely to have hardened their view that only they understand the problem and only they can solve it. Here is the nub of what the national media should be decrying. Why cannot Eurosceptics and Europhiles alike see that, on the one hand, the direction of the current project is dangerously off course, but, on the other, that the inevitable victim will be the whole objective of a united Europe.

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