Democrat - Editorial March-April 2008 (Number 107)
Don't give up, press on...
EU wide it is hard to remember when the federalists last won a referendum. That is why, apart from Ireland, governments have avoided holding plebiscites on the EU Constitution. In effect the Irish electorate has been left to take a decision on the EU Constitution on behalf of the 500 million people in the other Member States.
Although in Britain the Government supported by most Labour MPs has reneged on the manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution, our Campaign carries on. Democracy does work and the Government has not taken the will of the people into account. A price will be paid for that betrayal.
The House of Lords may yet upset the apple-cart by voting for a referendum and forcing the Government to hold one.
Whatever the result in Ireland, there is no alternative left but to get Britain out of the EU. This is a large and long-haul job. In the meantime the implications of the huge power grab which is taking place in the form of the Lisbon Treaty must be exposed even though it has not been ratified by all member States.
In one sense the task in our hands has been made clearer and easier by having the "decks cleared" for further action. In the motto of the former Amalgamated Engineering Union we need to continue to "agitate, educate and organise": there are plenty of 'issues' which contain an EU factor.
The implications of EU membership have not gone away and have to be exposed and opposed. These implications consist of a long list which includes the common policies for agriculture (CAP), fisheries (CFP), postal services, telecommunications and railways. These have all directly affected people throughout Britain in the form of high priced food, deteriorating postal services and continuing problems on the railways due to privatisation.
It should not be forgotten that Britain is still in the penultimate stage of economic and monetary union with all the strict criteria in place which includes the stability pact with fines. This still has huge impacts for the public sector and remains the major reason behind the privatisation of everything as well as expensive PFI and PPP schemes.
A Healthcare Directive is due soon and will undermine the NHS. The advantages of Britain not adopting the euro can be seen by studying other Member States with high inflation and national governments having no control over the economic levers of interest and exchange rates and hence of inflation.
The current mass migration across the EU may solve temporarily the shortage of skilled and other labour in Britain but it is causing social and economic problems in the new Member States. If the economy declines as predicted it may well cause social problems in Britain.
The further development of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy with an EU-military industrial-complex and European Army incurs huge amounts of expenditure and leads to further interference in other nation-states and wars.
The demise of all forms of practical and formal democracy is a direct result of powers being transferred to Brussels.
The importance and responsibility for the left is to stay active and take their position in the broad EU-sceptic movement in both Britain and across the continent. If this is not done the far right will grab hold and dominate this subject. The lesson has to be learnt that the struggle to retrieve in full the right to self-determination and national independence and democracy is the only way to counter the avaricious trans-national corporations and banks. In old fashioned terms that is part of the class struggle which must not be avoided if Britain and its peoples are to have a viable prosperous future.