No More Referenda

Daniel Hannan in The Spectator on the Lisbon Treaty: EU Leaders Will Never Consult Us Again.

Others complained of Ireland’s ingratitude. ‘We think it is a real cheek that the country that has benefited most from the EU should do this,’ said Axel Schäfer, SPD leader in the Bundestag.

Yet others moaned that the little countries were getting uppity. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the Euro-Greens, snarled: ‘It is not truly democratic that less than a million people can decide the fate of nearly half a billion Europeans.’ Spot on, Danny. So how about letting the other half-billion have referendums, too?

Then there were the attempts to claim that the Irish had misunderstood the question. The Vice-President of the Commission, Margot Wallström, plans to run some Eurobarometer opinion polls to find out what the Irish were really voting against. Let me help you with that one, Margot: they were voting against the Lisbon Treaty. The giveaway was the ballot paper, which asked people whether they wanted to amend the constitution so as to, you know, ratify the Lisbon Treaty.

This is the same Mrs Wallström, incidentally, who, three years ago, opined at the Theresiendstadt concentration camp that ‘No’ voters risked a second Holocaust. Well, three countries have since voted ‘No’ and, so far, there have been no pogroms, no special trains, no invasions of one EU state by another.

My favourite was the reaction by the President of the European Parliament, the amiable Hans-Gert Pöttering. ‘The ratification process must continue,’ he declared, because ‘the reform of the European Union is important for citizens, for democracy and for transparency.’ Got that? The reason the EU is tossing aside the verdict of the Irish people is for democracy.

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