Saturday, December 23, 2017

Vox Popoli: The EU Commission is not the spirit of democracy

Although the commissioners seem to think so. I have my issues with democracy, but if one has to choose between direct democracy and limited representative democracy, it is now very clear that the former is vastly to be preferred to the latter, no matter what the American Founding Fathers wrote about "mob rule". Because a mob of people are clearly wiser and less corrupt than the sort of unsavory creatures who inevitably slither into position to "represent" them.

Although the commission likes to talk a lot about democracy as a European value, it defines this as what Brussels wants, rather than what the people want. Time and again, with a ballot paper in front of them, a majority of voters – from those in Denmark who rejected the Maastricht Treaty in a referendum in 1992, to Britain last year and now Catalonia this week – have ticked the wrong box.

I am not sure that Catalan independence is a good idea any more than Scotland’s breakaway from the UK might be, but the choice is surely for the people affected.

Nothing displayed the EU’s blithe disregard for democracy better than the reaction to the Catalan vote by the European Parliament’s Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt. He completely ignored the fact that the three separatist parties had won a total of 70 seats in the 135-seat regional parliament – ensuring a separatist majority – and instead congratulated the pro-Spanish Citizens party which gained 37 seats, admittedly making it the largest single party but one in no position of power.

The trouble for the EU is that resentment over this ‘democratic deficit’ is growing daily. Across Europe – from Austria, where the anti-EU far-Right Freedom Party is now part of the coalition government, to Eastern European EU nations such as Poland and Hungary, which are visceral in their opposition to EU immigration policies – Brussels is increasingly coming up against the anger of voters.

In Poland, Brussels has inflamed that anger by moving to suspend the country’s voting rights in the EU after a dispute over judicial reforms that Brussels claims undermine Polish courts’ independence.

This attempt by the EU to make Warsaw its whipping boy – as though Eastern European members should take their subsidies and in return do the commission’s bidding – has appalled Hungary, which has now come out in support of Poland.

The anti-democratic EU elite well-merits being dismissed as Eurofascists.