"What is this House of Lords for? If it has any purpose at all, it must be to stand up for the rights of the people and our democratic system. Now is our moment. I suggest that every Peer, whatever their views on Europe, should consider carefully how they cast their vote on the issue of the referendum. We can prevent this tawdry deceit presented to us on April Fool's Day and allow the people the say that they were promised. This is our moment. We should seize it and turn the tide against those who hold the people in such contempt and risk everything by doing so."
So spoke Lord Forsyth of Drumlean on the occasion of the Second Reading of the European Union (Amendment) Bill in the Lords.
He was wasting his time, of course, as indeed were the other of their Lordships who contributed to the debate in the hope that democracy would prevail, not least Lord Pearson, who noted:
It is that political class, politely referred to as the "Westminster village", which is becoming increasingly despised by the real people who earn the money to pay the taxes to keep it afloat. If those real people are denied a referendum on this Lisbon treaty, which they were clearly promised, our whole political system will rightly be held in even greater contempt.Yet, with the Lib-Dim Euroluvvies having stitched up the proceedings, even the remote chance of the Lords being able to force a referendum on the treaty has evaporated.
But, having conspired with the governments of the member states to prevent their peoples having any meaningful debate on the treaty, how interesting it is that the EU commission yesterday launched a new initiative under the heading: "Debate Europe - giving citizens a voice". In this, we were told:
The European Commission wants to increase citizens' involvement in the EU decision-making process. In a Communication entitled 'Debate Europe – building on the experience of Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate', it puts forward a set of future actions to foster a general and permanent debate on the future of the European Union among people from all walks of life, at both national and EU level.There really is something particularly loathsome about the way the colleagues – having so skilfully avoided any debate about its new treaty – now want to create the impression of an ongoing debate, all to give itself the trappings of democracy, without in any way committing themselves to the principles.
It seems that, after taking the cue from Lord Pearson, we are also going to have also to take note of Devils Kitchen view that "despised" is not a strong enough word to describe the way we feel about these people.
Perhaps we need a new word.
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