Labour's anti-democratic EU referendum refusal

We've heard all the arguments before. An EU referendum would create "uncertainty"! But all democratic procedures create uncertainty. That's the point of them. Europhiles are fundamentally anti-democratic

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the commentator
On 12 March 2014 07:40

More obfuscation from British europhiles on Britain's position in the European Union; and yet more evidence that the European project as we know it is fundamentally incompatible with core democratic principles.

Today, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said in the Financial Times that he will not commit to a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU unless Britain was being asked to transfer more powers to Brussels.

But that misses the point on two counts. First, it is highly unlikely in the current environment that Brussels is going to ask Britain to transfer more powers anyway, not at least in the form of a new treaty that Britain would be asked to sign.

As a future prime minister, Miliband would, on the basis of what he has outlined today, have acres of manoeuvre to argue that whatever deals he strikes with Brussels would not amount to a significant transfer of powers. In other words, he's committed himself to nothing.

Second, the bigger issue is that the British people are deeply unhappy with the arrangements the country has with Brussels right now, never mind what might happen in the future. When you boil it all down, all Ed Miliband is telling the British people is that he won't give them the right to decide on whether their laws should be made in the UK or whether they should be made in an entirely different polity.

We've heard all the arguments before. A referendum would create "uncertainty"! How many times has that one been repeated?

But all democratic procedures create uncertainty. That's the point of them. Referendums, like general elections, give people choices. They empower them. The only "elections" that are compatible with certainty are the ones that used to take place in the Soviet Union: one party, one candidate, and it is compulsory to vote.

It is more than a little worrying that some hardened europhiles may these days look at that Soviet model and wonder why on earth anyone might have had a problem with it. Of course, the European Union is not the Soviet Union. But it is an increasingly neo-authoritarian political construction, as the words and actions of its most passionate supporters repeatedly demonstrate.

There are no two ways about it. If you oppose an in/out referendum on Britain's EU membership you do so because you oppose democracy. Ed Miliband and like-minded europhiles would do well to reflect on that.

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