Monday, 28 January 2008

Even more on EU "democracy"

I blogged yesterday about how "Hans-Gerd Pöttering, the parliament's German president, has complained to the "constitutional affairs committee" that the protesters were clearly intent on "obstructing the procedures of the House". He proposed that he should be able to ban anyone who, in his opinion, was indulging in such "practices", even if they were within the rules. The committee has agreed that he should be given this arbitrary power to suppress dissent..."

Daniel Hannan has written a fine piece in the Telegraph and I would like you to go and read it in full.

Here are some extracts (my emphasis):

"I thought that, after eight years in the European Parliament, nothing could shock me any more. I was wrong.

Yesterday, the President of the Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering, asked for, and was granted, arbitrary powers to suspend the rules of the institution in order to disadvantage the tiny number of MEPs who want a referendum on the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty.

I have come to expect hypersensitivity to criticism, flouting of rules, intolerance of dissent, authoritarianism. But nothing had prepared me for such blatancy.

Hans-Gert openly admitted that the behaviour of his Euro-sceptic opponents was within the rules. And he wasn’t asking to change those rules – a procedure that would take time. No, he simply wanted permission to disregard them. Permission was duly granted, by 20 committee votes to 3."

Daniel Hannan continues "The whole business is outrageous. I am almost tempted to compare it to the Nazi Ermächtigungsgesetz – the Enabling Act of 1933 which allowed Hitler to override parliament and the constitution. But I won’t because a) it would be disproportionate and b) it would be terrifically rude to Hans-Gert, who lost his father in the war and who, for all that he is behaving appallingly on this occasion, is a decent man and a democrat."

I am not sure it is disproportionate, this is an affront to democracy and now the precedent has been set, what else could be "verboten" in future? Maybe criticism of the CAP should not be allowed, or comments on the EU accounts not being signed off again, or maybe criticism of the EU's policy on Glbal Warming should not be allowed. Once you start down this road, you cannot control where you end up. The EU is an autocratic system, where the law is subject to the ideology of the ruling faction. No lawbreaking deters them: unaudited budgets, rigged referendums, asymmetrical applications of the rules - everything is justified provided it advances the cause of European integration.

Daniel Hannan continues "Blinded by their resentment of “anti-Europeans”, which is in turn a surrogate for the fear and contempt they feel for their own electorates, they have abandoned any pretence at legality in order to prevent us making our point in the chamber. The very sound of someone calling for a referendum is offensive to their guilty ears...What they really hate, my federalist colleagues, is being reminded of the fact that they all supported referendums until it became clear they would lose them. We are their bad consciences, the ghosts at their feast. To prolong the Macbeth reference a little, the shocking thing about their behaviour is not that they are trying to silence their critics, nor even that they are breaking the rules – after all, they are doing so on a much grander scale by reviving the constitution following two “No” votes. No, the breath-taking aspect of the whole business is that they haven’t troubled to hide the illegality of what they’re doing. They’ve happily put it all on paper...It is now clear that the constitution has no legitimacy. It is becoming clear, too that the European Parliament has lost whatever shreds of legitimacy it might once have had."

I am disgusted at the actions of Hans-Gerd Pöttering and the EU. I am also disgusted, but not surprised, that the BBC has completely ignored this story; I wonder if the money the BBC are receiving from the EU might affect the BBC's reporting of this story.

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