24 October 2011

The Conscience of the King

Which is the title of the 13th episode of the TV series Star Trek's first season, but also could refer to the behaviour of all three Party Leaders in reference to the forthcoming vote in the House of Commons on whether to hold a referendum on EU membership (in whatever format)As already stated by Hal Berstram when I took over co-editorship of this blog, 'readers could look forward to discussion of the intelligent case for leaving the EU' - with Europe once again pushed into the forefront of the political landscape, at least as far as the political class are concerned.

Arguably the finest journalist in print today of any newspaper is Christopher Booker of the Sunday Telegraph. The original editor of the satirical publication, Private Eye, he is still contributing material both to its investigative section 'In the back' as well as the innumerable small jokes, often in cartoon format that litter its pages. Better known on the Left nowadays for his scepticism over Climate Change (or Anthropogenic Global Warming), he first came to my attention as one of the only (if not the only) journalists to focus on the EU's forays into the public sphere in the 1990s and early 2000s. He has been consistently vindicated on every aspect of his European observations, not the least of which was criticism of the common cross party consensus that the EU was a 'good thing'. I'd hazard this is one of the main reason why, he , like I smells a rat, when Climate Change proponents say 'the science is settled' and 'there is general consensus' , telltale phrases that imply a vested interest in something which is in many cases quite lucrative. I feel confident that, as global temperatures continue to fluctuate and fall in many cases, Booker's stance will be vindicated again. However, this is not the main thrust of the post.

In one searing work, the Castle of Lies , he and co-author Richard North (an admittedly single-minded campaigner who destroyed his photocard EU license because it had the EU's 'ring of stars' emblem on it and who went to prison for a day for withholding the 'policing' element of his Council Tax for his local force's failure to deal with a burglary epidemic in his part of West Yorkshire) laid bare the EU's true nature for anyone who was willing to see it. In the sequel, The Great Deception, they looked at the EU's roots and exposed its deliberately anti-democratic nature, as well as the fiction that British War Leader Churchill ever intended the UK to be part of such an organisation. In all honesty, I'd find it hard to nominate a journalist who has done more to influence my political beliefs in a positive, as opposed to a negative way.

Thus, I can only echo the sentiments of my co-author here on the blog in his call for a referendum. Very interesting to see the attitude of the man who he believes will be PM in 2015, who has described people calling for a referendum as 'barking' and a 'reckless distraction' thus destrying the ground his conference speech had gained him in the eyes of many Eurosceptics. whilst it's true that to agitate for a referendum at a time of global crisis might seem something of an unwanted diversion, such a diagnosis fails to recognise that the issue goes to the core of what type of governmental system we want.

What I fear is two things:

A/ The phraseology of the referendum question - will it be a loaded question to try and appease the 'Fib Dems' (who on this issue I agree with Hal are 'spineless collaborators') or will it be the question which the UKIP want:

'Do you wish Britain to remain in the EU, a deeply corrupt, utterly undemocratic institution whose cost outweigh is benefits by about 100 to 1 and which is widely believed to be run covertly from Beijing and Pyongyang?

B/ The possibility of a 'third option' on renegotiation, which as former Icelandic PM , David Oddsson (who kept Iceland out of the EU) pointed out wouldn't be offered to the UK. Indeed, I'm not even sure the preferential treatment afforded to Norway and Switzerland would be offered. that's the greatest fear for the otherwise dominant UKIP, that the 'fear factor' will drive either a 'Yes' or a vote for option three.

Thus whilst I disagree with Hal's vision, which given the lack of linguistic or cultural commonality would simply not work in countries as diverse as the EU membership, I'll stand happliy on the plaform with him and other anti-globalisation protesters and Greens who normally I would be looking to expose as in the pay of certain hostile powers to say that this issue cannot be ignored. If you truly care at all about our democracy - you need to be writing to your MP, regardless of his politics, and ask him or her why they aren't supporting democracy by defying party whips to vote in favour of it. I'd be especially pleased if any readers who might live in Doncaster North especially could ask.....

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