Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Are we at Pitchforks and Torches yet?

The British will never trust those who deceive them

The Government cannot afford to admit that the two treaties are substantially
the same, because it would then have no excuse for breaking its commitment. It
has to lie about the two treaties because that is the fig leaf to cover a deeper

Earlier last week the results of an independent mini-referendum were published.
There have been votes in ten marginal seats, eight of which are held by Labour and
two by Liberal Democrats. The results supported the findings of recent opinion
polls but were based on a much larger number of responses. In all, 152,520 people
returned the ballots, a 36 per cent turnout that compares favourably with many local
government elections.

Two questions were asked: should there be a referendum? Should we approve the Lisbon
treaty? In total 87.9 per cent of voters wanted a referendum and 88.8 per cent would
vote “no” to the treaty. The results in different constituencies were surprisingly
similar, though Hammersmith fell outside the pattern. We had a referendum in
Somerset and Frome. The turnout was identical with the average at 36.2 per cent,
while 87.9 per cent would vote “no” to Lisbon. Different regions produced similar

There can be no real doubt about public opinion; British voters are increasingly
critical of the EU. In the House of Commons the argument was used that the public
could not be expected to understand the complexities of the Lisbon treaty. If that
were so, the Labour Party should not have promised a referendum in the first place.

In any case, these are the traditional arguments against trial by jury, which the
British trust. Juries know the difference between guilt and innocence; voters
understand their own concerns.


“I do not know why we dance around as though this were a silly game. The truth
is that the heads of state and governments of all the countries that negotiated
the constitutional treaty have said to each other, ‘We have got in a rea mess over
this. We allowed the public and politicians who are not responsible members of the
government to play a part.’ European bureaucrats have known for years that the way
to get things done is never to ask the public . . . because the answer will
inevitably be no.”

The British public are not unusual in wanting democracy, open government and truthful
government. If the EU can be run only on the basis of secrecy and manipulation, then
it has no hope of winning public confidence, least of all in

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