Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Stuart Wheeler's democratic confusion

I have to say that it sticks in my gullet to be lectured about 'democracy' by a multi-millionaire whose main involvement in British politics has been to shovel millions of pounds into Tory party coffers and waste god knows how many days of FCO time in a pointless court case, again using his personal fortune as fuel. He has every right to donate money, take HM Government to court, of course, and I have every right to call him deluded when he pontificates about 'democracy.'

Of course, there is a history of this type of character on the euro-sceptic right. James Goldsmith used his hoard of cash to lecture us about 'democracy' as well so Stuart Wheeler is following a well-trodden path.

His court case will fail I'm sure. The Lisbon Treaty is a completely different concept to the draft constitution and similar in form to other such post-Treay of Rome treaties. In fact, Maastricht and the Single European Act were of far greater constitutional significance and there was almost no discussion about the need for a referendum on those treaties. The now defunct Constitutional Treaty basically established an entirely new European Union. When Vernon Bogdanor, one of the UK's foremost constitutional expert dismisses the notion that the Lisbon Treaty is of major constitutional importance, most people take note. Mr Wheeler knows better of course.

We are a democracy despite the neuroses of the Right. Stuart Wheeler is welcome to spend his money as he likes. What is worrying is that the Wheelers of this world have such a loose grip on the meaning of 'democracy.' For them, it is inconceivable that they could lose the argument unless Britain had ceased to be a democracy. That's just an attitude of 'I'm right and no-one else can be.' I can't imagine anything more anti-democratic.

1 comment:

  1. Well, here is something really anti-democratic.

    The Times wrote : "A referendum on the controversial redrafted EU constitution was ruled out by Portugal yesterday after pressure from Gordon Brown and President Sarkozy.

    The Prime Minister and Mr Sarkozy called José Sócrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, to insist that a popular ballot was not necessary.

    The decision by Portugal not to hold a referendum but to ratify the treaty through its parliament will come as a huge relief to Downing Street and the Élysée Palace, which feared extra pressure on them to hold a public vote. The revelation of top-level phone calls will, though, only increase suspicions that the European political elite have coordinated efforts to avoid a repeat of the referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005 that sank the proposed constitution and plunged the EU into a two-year crisis"

    I agree with Mr. Wheeler although I don't share his political views.