Sunday, May 10, 2009

Democratic Displacement - the distance of Governance

I’m Simon and this is the first of several podcasts/Blog/Youtubes planned.
Each will deal with a different aspect of my concerns and objections to what I consider the undemocratic imposition of the Lisbon treaty.

As this blog is also the introductory one, it will be slightly longer than they will be in the future.
I want to talk about what may happen as Governance grows remote from the people of the European Union.
Now – two quick questions –
How many states are there now in the US ?
There are 50 and I knew that without looking it up.
How many states are there now in the EU?
Well, I had to google it – there are 27 member states and Ireland is the only one that has had referendum on the latest version of the EU treaty.

It is comparable to asking only Maine along with Hawaii to or god forbid Alaska to elect the President of the United States

Europe is the cradle from where democracy was born. From its beginnings in Athens it has endured and adapted over the centuries.
As Churchill said, democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

In the History of Europe
Whenever we have moved away from Democratic principles,
Whenever we have vested power in small democratically unaccountable groups and
Whenever the result of the democratic process has been manipulated, ignored or over-ridden it has been to our detriment.

And now, In Ireland, despite a clear democratic result we are expected to go back and do it again.

It’s hardly within the democratic tradition of Europe, but that is the problem inherent in the constitution/treaty itself – it is the forced adoption of a distinctly un-democratic system – and when the rejection is not to the liking of the political class’ they have simply move the goalposts.

From the start I want to make it clear that the Lisbon Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty are fundamentally the same document. Minor changes in content and even the reduction of font size have been used to alter and re-brand the package.
But it is in essence the same document democratically rejected by the populations of France, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic. Other citizens like in the UK have not even been given the opportunity to accept or reject the treaty.

The document presented to us is a radical reform of the way our democratic and social systems work. It proposes more unelected leaders and decision makers

And I object to this - As a European and Irish Citizen, I am concerned that the Lisbon treaty is being imposed on myself and my European fellow citizens despite democratic rejection and legitimate concerns about the process.
It is unwieldy, difficult to understand, obtuse and abstract.
I want to be able to at least understand what the treaty entails before accepting it.

In Irelands case, the special interests and politicians who want us to adopt the treaty/constitution are the same politicians who have led us blindly into an economic Alice in Wonderland, with commercial banks being bailed out despite the actions of their directors, with taxes from private citizens who are facing foreclosure and income loss.

I use the term special interest rather loosely, as it is a familiar term.
It is in essence trans-national corporations, bankers, media groups and others who profit from the current system.
It would also cover some Bureaucrats and Politicians, who –however well intentioned – I feel are underqualified, not accountable enough and too far removed from the average citizen to make such radical changes to our system of governance.

This delusion of the perfect system has occurred many times.
From John Grey’s book, Black Mass – we see it is the same with many historical movements. Nazis, Communists, Jacobins, neo-conservatives et al all believed that their system was the only one for the development of society.

They all believed that after a period of adjustment, once their model was imposed that it would work because it was the pinnacle of human social engineering.
Whether that model is based on genetic, racial, religious, social, political or economic supremacy of one group over another does not matter.
What matters is that this thinking is a inherently flawed concept, a delusion, because there is no such thing as the perfect system. One size does not fit all.
Politics, democracy and governance evolve, adapt, change and develop constantly to meet new challenges and circumstances

The Lisbon treaty is designed to radically change many aspects of the concept of European Unity and I believe it moves us away from the liberal, communal, humanist, social and democratic values and traditions that are a part of what makes Europe what it is.

We are heading down the path of greater privatization in areas such as public services such as education, transport and health, fundamental European values
We are developing a system when we allow transnational corporations – 51 of them in the top 100 global economies - to further influence our affairs.

If there is one lesson that must be held to be true for a democratic society in Europe it is the 186 simple words of an American President, Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg – that government must be of the People, by the People, and for the People.

And briefly, lets consider word counts of influential historical texts.

Lincolns Gettysburg address 186 words
The Irish Proclamation of the Republic 473 words
The French Declaration of the rights of mankind 795 words
Britains Magna Carta 3361 words
And The consolidated index of the Lisbon Treaty in English – over 9,000 words

In closing I feel that we the people of the EU, and the people of Ireland, should not be forced to adopt a treaty which the majority do not want.

Its our choice.

Again, as always – thanks for reading, thanks for listening.

Even if you don’t agree with me – I hope you give some thoughts to the points made

And please let others now about these blogs, podcasts and youtubes.

Citizen Simon - out

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