Lord Tebbit has today written an article in The Daily Telegraph: “The European Court of Human Rights must not override our democratically elected Parliament“.
As usual, Lord Tebbit is right in some respects but wrong in other respects. He is right that the opinions of a judicial system designed to support the European Union (EU), very much a political project without full democratic credibility, should not transcend the will of the people of the United Kingdom. His error is in seeking the repatriation of sovereignty back from the EU (which is manifestly undemocratic) to the UK Westminster Parliament because it is democratically elected.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, and honourable (?) members of the UK Westminster Parliament may scream and bitch as much as they want to do about repatriation of sovereignty to the UK Westminster but if his Lordship, Lord Tebbit, thinks the EU is undemocratic then he must also admit that so too is the UK Westminster Parliament.
The UK Parliamentary Representative System provides no coherent policy regarding the EU other than allowing our representatives to be able to avoid asking the electorate to choose whether the UK integrates more closely with the EU or proceeds to extract itself. The question of continued membership of the EU is quite deliberately never made a major manifesto issue during the UK General Election for the three major political parties with any realistic hopes to form UK government.
Of course there are single-issue alternative Political Parties such as the BNP or UKIP we could all vote for but we, The PEOPLE who are the democratic voters, for the most part, do not give our single votes based on whether the UK is in or out of the EU but rather which political party is most likely to keep us in Housing Benefit or our Stately mansion or somewhere in between for most of us. We vote to keep us in jobs and keep us in comfort in health and prosperity after the government has taken most of our earnings in taxes either directly or indirectly.
In 1975, the then UK Government sought the approval of the people over 18 to have the UK stay in the “Common Market” by holding a referendum. That referendum was to decide to STAY as our politicians under Edward Heath’s Prime Ministerial lead had already signed the UK into the EEC without popular consent.
35 years later most people under the age of 55 have not had an opportunity to vote for a realistic government to make a choice in whether the UK should stay in or out of the EU.
If it was thought good enough to ask the electorate whether to stay in the ‘Common Market’ in 1975, it make absolute sense to ask the British Electorate the same question as to UK membership of the “EU”. Especially so now when the UK electorate are seeing themselves deal with £81bn worth of cuts in 2011/15 but the UK Government have to agree to stump up an extra £400m to the EU Budget every year for the same period of time and might even increase.
The UK should hold a referendum on continued membership of the EU NOW!
That would be truly democratic.