Monday, February 02, 2004
The Direct Democratic Deficit

Many of the politicians who favour the European Constitution understand that if referenda were to take place in every Member State, integration would not acquire the legitimate popular backing that it required. Hence, the arguments in favour of representative or parliamentary democracy, that we have heard in Britain and are now emanating from Denmark.

A new book has been written, entitled "Towards the European Constitution" arguing that this could not be achieved if referenda were allowed. These arguments tend to be aired in those countries where the electorate expect radical changes to be confirmed through referenda.

The book - "Towards the European Constitution" warns that the EU could fall apart if the Danish practise of consulting the people in referenda over important EU treaties is copied by other member states.

"Referenda have a very conservative effect on development. If the other countries copy us, the EU will fall apart", she writes.

Mrs Antonsen, a member of the Danish Parliament for the ruling Liberal party, argues that representative democracy is just as democratic as referenda.

"Referenda are in fact pure gambling. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome, unfortunately".

The key phrase here is "positive outcome" and the inability of politicians to guarantee their objectives through a referendum. It is noteworthy that the end-goal of a European state is deemed more important than the right of the electorates to have their say on these matters. Representative democracy is favoured because these goals are easier to achieve in such systems through coalition governments.

Ignore the people and they have a nasty habit of making themselves heard, usually in a convulsive and violent manner.

(23.29, 2nd February 2004)


Post a Comment

Blog Archive