© by Rob Ager 2009




During the past forty years there have been a handful of referendums in Britain. They include the Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum 1973, United Kingdom European Communities membership referendum 1975, the Scottish devolution referendum, 1997, and the Welsh devolution referendum 1997.

In 2003 Britain, under the New Labour government, invaded Iraq along with America and the other coalition nations. Despite massive public opposition, no referendum was held.

Last year the people of Ireland held a referendum on The Lisbon Treaty and they rejected the bill. This opportunity to vote was something the British people were denied by New Labour, which has in turn severely damaged New Labour's popularity and virtually guranteed their ejection in the next national election. The reason New Labour took this incredibly unpopular approach to the treaty is simple. They knew the British people would reject the bill. Study group polls consistently reflect the declining popularity in Britain of the EU and the public desire for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] . Even Flash Eurobarometer research arranged by the European Commission gives less than favorable UK public opinion results.

Luckily, Ireland's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty stopped it in its tracks (all EU member states are required to ratify the treaty for it to be allowed to pass), but apparently the EU are unable to accept a "no" vote. They simply decided to hold another Irish vote the following year, only this time they kept it a much more low key media event and the result was a "yes" vote. Only two more countries are required to pass the Lisbon Treaty into law.

Regardless of whatever haggling, manipulation or arm twisting went on to sway the Irish vote, the people of Europe are now in the position of being pulled even further under EU bureaucratic control. To put the undemocratic nature of the Lisbon Treaty ratification process into context, I'll summarize the history of how the Treaty came into being:

  1. The Lisbon Treaty originally began as a bill called the European Constitution and in order to pass into law it needed to be ratified by all EU member states.
  2. Only four of the ten planned referendums on the bill were held.
  3. The people of Luxemburg and Spain passed the bill, while the people of France and the Netherlands rejected it.
  4. As a result the referendums in Poland, Portugal, Denmark and the UK were cancelled.
  5. Rather than accept that the EU Constitution wasn't wanted by the people of Europe, the EU Council repackaged it as The Lisbon Treaty. Again, in order to pass into law it needs to be ratified by all EU member states.
  6. Only one country held a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty - Ireland. They rejected it in 2008.
  7. In 2009 the Irish were told to vote again on Lisbon. This time they passed the bill.

From the above sequence of events the EU Council (also known as the Consilium) has shown its true face. They're willing to go through seemingly democratic processes regarding what laws they wish to introduce, so long as they think those laws will be approved by the people of Europe (they were vastly over-confident about the EU Constitution), but when they know the people of Europe will reject their proposals, they scrap the democratic process all together and put it into law anyway by refusing referendums across the board. The so-called ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is simply staged (and poorly at that) democracy and economic coersion (bribery).

On the national scale, the populations of European countries are confronted with parties in power who hold more allegiance to the wishes of the EU Council than they do to their own voters. One of those parties in power, the current New Labour government of the UK, will be the main focus of this article, though we will discuss much broader issues in the process.

New Labour are fully aware that the people of Britain want a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. This Timesonline article explains a recent poll on the matter and states: "58 per cent agree that Britain has given the EU too much power, including a clear majority of supporters of all main parties. Twenty-eight per cent say the balance is about right and 6 per cent say too little power has been given to the EU. If other countries ratify the Lisbon treaty, 82 per cent say that Britain should hold a referendum on the issue. Just 13 per cent disagree." And a very important issue is that the British people do not want to again be ruled by the lying bureaucrat Tony Blair, who helmed New Labour during its first two terms in office and could be installed as the EU president in the near future: "The poll contains a blow to Tony Blair’s hopes of becoming EU president if the Lisbon treaty goes through: 63 per cent are against his appointment, compared with 34 per cent in favour."

Despite the overwhelming public pressure for New Labour to do a u-turn and hold a referendum, they are committing pre-election suicide in order to ensure the Lisbon Treaty becomes law. For an explanation of this bizarrre logic we need look little further than the example set by former New Labour leader and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He consistently went against the will of the British people on a number of issues, some of which we'll explore shortly, and demolished his own reputation with the voters. However, Blair is now on the cards as a possible EU president. There can be little doubt that his track record as Prime Minister was driven, at least partially, by a desire to climb the bureacratic career ladder in Brussels. That could also be the case with the many other politicians in Britain who are fighting to ratify the Lisbon Treaty without a referendum when they could easily gain votes by doing the opposite.

So how will the Lisbon Treaty affect Britain?

Well, the first factor to consider, and this appears to be the basis of mass rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, is that it will continue the problematic aspects we currently have under EU membership, some of which we will explore shortly (primarily massive financial loss, mass immigration and legal superiority over many British laws). Its actually a series of amendments to the Maastricht Treaty 1991 (Treaty on European Union), which created the euro currency and allowed free movement of EU citizens between member states. However, it isn't the first amendment. There was the Treaty of Amsterdam 1997 and the Treaty of Nice 2001. Each of the treaties is basically part of an "integration" process that gradually puts our financial and legal institutions under increasing EU control. People want the opposite of this, they want a decreased power of the EU over their national government. Rejecting the Lisbon Treaty is a way of voicing that desire.

But one very important detail of the Lisbon Treaty is that it creates a new permanent "PRESIDENT OF THE EU COUNCIL" position. From the EU website description of the post:

"the Constitutional Treaty establishes a permanent President of the European Council, who will take on the work currently assigned to rotating Presidencies. He/she will be elected by qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end his or her mandate according to the same procedure. ... Finally, the Constitution stipulates that the President of the European Council may not hold a national mandate at the same time. It will therefore be impossible for a sitting Head of Government of a Member State to be President of the European Council, as is the case today. This is because of the burden of work associated with the Presidency of the European Council, particularly in an enlarged Union of 25 Member States. However, this does not prevent the President of the European Council from holding another mandate at the same time within another European institution. This allows for the possibility, in future, of combining the functions of President of the European Council with those of the President of the Commission, if the Member States so wish."

What the above description does not explicitly state is that MEPs (the people you vote into the EU parliament) will have no say in who becomes the permanent EU president. The possibility of a combined president of both the European Council and Commission would invest an incredible amount of power in one individual.

Let's take a broader look at the EU and its institutions.