If the political class of Europe is so confident of the EU project then why have they become so allergic to having referenda on the issue?
On February 28, the Sejm, the Polish parliament, voted to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by 357 votes to 55 with 7 abstentions. That’s virtually unanimous – a very rare collusion of politicians in Poland.
The Civic Platform led government does not want a referendum on this issue, and does not want the EU to be a political issue in general, as it was under the Kaczynski government.
So, a treaty that shifts and confuses the meaning of sovereignty even more than it has already become will not be put before the people. Tusk would probably win a ‘yes’ vote, though the necessary 50 percent turnout to validate the referendum would be a problem, so crushingly dull and irrelevant is much of the document to most Poles.
But Tusk never pretended to be keen on a referendum. He never led his voters to expect anything else. The same cannot be said of the UK PM, Gordon Brown. New Labour had promised a referendum on the original Constitutional Treaty, which got flushed down the toilet after the Dutch and French votes.
When practically the same document re-emerged as the ‘Lisbon Treaty’ Brown said that since the treaty was no longer a ‘constitution’ then he didn’t have to have a referendum on it. Brilliant!
And last week Gordon Brown’s brown-nosing New Labour MPs went along with the deceit, with only a handful voted against or abstained to ratify the EU Constitution Treaty dressed in Portuguese drag.
I think that Poles, the British and most Europeans are being held in contempt by their political class. There are serious issues involved in the Lisbon Treaty and we should have the right to a direct say in the decision making process.
The EU, from the very beginnings in the 1950s, has always been a project of European political elites. I don’t ever remember people marching through the streets demanding a department in Brussels set up to measure the size of people’s letter boxes (there is directives about this; I just got a new EU letter box! The bit you put the letters in must be within certain parameters...and should not be made of Genetically Modified products made in China). I don’t remember people chaining themselves to the railings demanding the Common Agricultural Policy. From the Coal and Steel act in the 1950s onwards, these ideas have come from political elites, not from social movements. The gap between Brussels and its ‘people’ has always been wide as a result.
One of the ideas behind the EU Constitution was to find a way to bind people closer to Brussels – to find, create a relationship and identity with society. But as long as national governments continue to stick a finger up at their electorates over EU matters, by-passing them on the road to ratifying the Lisbon Treaty then those Euro-elites are never going to get touchy-feely with me or anyone else.
Give us a referendum! What are you so scared of?