Thursday, December 13, 2007

What are we fighting for?

With the Lisbon treaty in our faces at the moment – where it will remain – it is appropriate at this juncture to remind ourselves about what we are really fighting for and why the odious European Union is – and will remain – so utterly offensive.

The problem is that, in essence, we are fighting for the right to govern ourselves, in our own way – for better or worse. And, in the UK, "our own way" means Parliamentary democracy, which makes our fight so difficult as too many people fail to understand how it works.

A perfect example of this is the quaint but quintessentially British process called an "adjournment debate" in the House of Commons, which affords individual MPs – our elected representatives - to raise issues of concern to their voters and bring them very directly and publicly to the attention of ministers.

Much derided by the know-alls and almost completely ignored by the media clever-dicks and the political wannabes, who would much rather expend their energies on scoring the weekly jousts which go under the name of Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), these represent an important safety valve in the system and a very direct mechanism for flagging up neglected issues.

One such, which typifies the genre, was held late Tuesday evening – long after the newspapers had gone to bed – over a bread-and-butter issue which represents the very stuff of politics in this day and age, the closure of rural schools. We have a look at that debate on EU Referendum 2 and the more general implications for democracy.

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