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Is this how democracy dies? With thunderous applause

    This week at the CPS we launched the first of our new debate series ‘Do critics of Conservative Euro-sceptics have anything to apologise for?’. Following on from Peter Oborne’s Guilty Men book, the debate between Oborne and Times journalist David Aaronovitch centres around the prescience of those who did not want to take us into the European single currency and whether their detractors should apologise for the perceived mistreatment they dealt out.

    What struck me the most about the trade between Oborne and Aaronovitch was the idea of the arguments of Enoch Powell and his supporters being somewhat vindicated in their concerns about the European Union and sovereignty.

    I have blogged previously for this website about the mainstream Euroscepticism in Britain, but recent events have seen the matter take on a whole new concern; it seems Europe is no longer an annoyance, a waste of money to be moaned about, but a sinisterly anti-democratic body with intentions of consolidating power away from citizens.

    The removal of Greek PM Papandreou and his Italian counterpart, the infamously libidinal Silvio Berlusconi, by a cabal of European power-wielders led by the Godzilla-like portmanteau of Markozy was of concern enough – after all the EU has never cherished democracy as one of its founding principles, even if it does require it as a condition for membership. The introduction of puppet technocrat governments, and today’s revelation that the Italian cabinet will contain ZERO elected representatives of the people, takes the arguments of those whose concern is sovereignty to a new prominence.

    CPS Research Fellow Janet Daley asks in her Telegraph column ‘What is the schedule for the return of democracy?’. It is a pertinent question, but perhaps we should also be asking ourselves if this is what it takes to restore financial stability, is it worth it?

    If this doesn’t work, what is next? Could the German Chancellor decide to appoint German technocrats to head foreign governments? Could the German/French cabal take administrative control of Italy to guide the country through the crisis? Could democracy be suspended indefinitely in favour of the appointment of Regional Governors from Berlin? Admittedly ridiculous questions all, but a few months ago we surely would have thought the current situation just as foolish as these scenarios.

    We know that the banking crisis of 2007 onwards has rolled over into a sovereign debt crisis that has particularly affected nations that have a long history of over-extending their debt and running up huge deficits. The measures taken by governments and central banks to protect the financial services industry have contributed to the mess we see today.

    If the measures now taken to prop up the ailing Euro and creaking Union do no more than send the crisis a few years down the line – exacerbating it though the accumulation of further debt – what future measure may Markozy (or more likely their left-wing conquerors) be forced to take to ‘protect’ Europe’s stability.

    Angela Merkel has warned of war in Europe if the EU project does not succeed – she has drawn the correlation that the existence of the European Union has been responsible for the lack of war between major European nations. The rise of the anti-EU far right across Europe however betrays the fact that it is the Union that is creating the conditions for future conflict through its sheer arrogance in presuming to dictate its methods without giving people any say or respecting their national sovereignty.   

    Back at home, Eurosceptics within the Conservatives are derided by many as having a ‘Farage-iste tendency’. I challenge those critics to show members of the general public the below video and to come back and say they have not been witness to a concerted bout of head nodding, despite Mr. Farage’s characteristic exuberance.

    In truth, I have to apologise to Star Wars fans everywhere by using one of the worst lines from the awful Phantom Menace as the title to this article. But I cannot help draw a parallel between the present situation and the one seen in George Lucas’ much derided second trilogy. Emergency powers are granted to the Chancellor, the suspension of democracy takes place, and it is all done with the thunderous applause of regional officials desperate to save their own interests.

    Angela Merkel’s calls for a closer Union, and Germany’s quite outrageous assertion that Britain is somehow to blame for a Eurozone crisis, are just the latest examples of a body that will always see federalism as the answer to any ill – even if federalism’s Holy Grail, the Euro, is a large part of what has caused this mess. Many have said there is no time like the present for David Cameron to demand a renegotiation of the UK-EU relationship. I certainly hope this can be achieved.

    For Europe though, where the political elite seeks to tie its survival to a great sinking ocean liner, I fear a situation much like Angela Merkel has predicted, brought about by her own EU’s continued circumvention of democratic process. 

    Lewis joined the Centre for Policy Studies in April 2011 with responsibility for social media and digital engagement.

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