EU’s Van Rompuy strikes new blow against democracy, telling Italy it doesn’t “need” elections
The EU’s hostility to democracy is now so brazen it thinks it has the right to tell European countries when they can and can’t vote for their governments
In a memorable speech last year at the European Parliament, UKIP’s Nigel Farage lambasted newly appointed (not elected of course) European Council President Herman Van Rompuy saying he had “the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low grade bank clerk.”
There can be little dispute about it. But a few moments later Farage went on to talk about Van Rompuy’s intention to become “the quiet assassin of European democracy.” On that one, he couldn’t have been more wrong. The man’s shouting it from the roof tops.
Here’s what he said yesterday after Italy’s Northern League, Silvio Berlusconi’s erstwhile backers, said it would not support the country’s prospective new government and called for a general election:
“This country needs reforms, not elections,” he said bluntly.
Who is this guy? No really, who precisely does Herman Van Rompuy think he is in telling one of Europe’s most historic nations that it doesn’t need elections?
It’s jaw dropping stuff. It’s like thinking you’re having a nightmare only for it to dawn on you that this is actually happening. It’s real.
Responding to rumours that Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy are considering ways to force countries out of the Eurozone if they fail to bring their public finances into order, Van Rompuy was quite adamant that sovereign democracies such as France and Germany could simply forget it.
“Let us be clear: we will not prune the eurozone to a more selective club,” he said sneeringly.
The key word in that sentence is of course “we”. But hold on, who is “we”? Certainly not the leaders of the eurozone’s biggest democracies.
France and Germany can take a running jump as far as Herman Van Rompuy is concerned, and they can take their democracies with them (not that the current leaders of those countries are particularly supportive of democracy themselves).
So, who’s “we”?
Aha. That’s right, he means the unelected technocrats and bureaucrats who run the show in Brussels. He means the people who would turn Europe into an empire. He means those who tell entire countries to vote again in referendums if they give the wrong answer or just ignore them completely.
He means Herman Van Rompuy and company. And he means to destroy anyone who gets in their way.
The notion that the EU was an enemy of democracy used to be the preserve of the far fringes of the spectrum. To be sure, there was always some understanding of a “democratic deficit”.
The smarter people were aware that, in the absence of a European demos, the transfer of powers from national parliaments to Brussels inevitably entailed a net decline in democratic governance.
What seems to have been underestimated by many was the potential for the emergence of an entirely new political class with a vested interest in acquiring ever more power for itself and an inherent hostility to democracy and all that surrounds it.
That class, embodied by Herman Van Rompuy, Jose Manuel Barroso and many others, has now gone a good way towards taking power in Europe.
And, as they take power, democracy is on the decline because the power structures they have been constructing around them are incompatible with democratic theory and practice.
These are dark days for modern Europe. Half of the continent only made it to democracy two decades ago. Spain, Portugal and Greece only consolidated their own democracies a decade or so before that.
Democracy is a fragile thing. And far too valuable to be entrusted to the likes of Herman Van Rompuy.
It’s time to take these people down. It’s time to destroy the new, emerging class of autocrats and to do so before it’s too late.
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