Eurocrats fear Britain will provoke referendum domino effect
Quite casually, quite naturally, and quite without shame, the message from Brussels is that you don't even hold democratic ballots unless the result is a foregone conclusion
There was a nice little side-bar in the Guardian yesterday illustrating the fears of the European political classes that Britain may provoke a domino effect of referendums across Europe.
Concealing their contempt for democracy only by insisting on being quoted off the record, "senior officials" are apparently in a panic that changes to the Lisbon treaty, secured either by David Cameron or by the need to shore up the eurozone, would give added impetus to calls for popular ballots following the Cameron pledge for a UK referendum in 2017.
As the Guardian put it: "Even before a vote on a new settlement in Britain, a revised Lisbon treaty would certainly trigger referendum calls in Ireland or Denmark." Quoting one of the officials, the paper added: "Then you have the domino effect. What about the Netherlands, Sweden, France. [President François] Hollande's position is key. He needs a referendum like a hole in the head."
Yes indeed. Consulting the people would never do. Still, it's not entirely clear why they're so worried. The lessons from previous referendums in France, the Netherlands and Ireland show that unless the people vote in the right way, their preferences are either ignored or they are told to vote again until they give the right answer. Having said that, it would of course be embarrassing.
"There will be huge pressure for referendums," one of the senior sources told the Guardian. "But politicians are unlikely to start on the road to referendums if they think they will lose them."
So, quite casually, quite naturally, and quite without shame, the message from Brussels is that you don't even hold democratic ballots unless the result is a foregone conclusion.
You couldn't make it up. And Brussels wonders why democrats across Europe hold the modern European project in such contempt...
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