CONTEMPT for democracy has long been a European Union hallmark, as evidenced by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble’s clarification that EU treaties take precedence over decisions by the Greek electorate.
Greek voters backed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s call for a mandate to negotiate debt relief for an economy on its knees, where wages, benefits and pensions had been slashed — only to be informed that their votes didn’t count.
“Debt relief is not possible within the currency union. European treaties do not allow it,” was Schaeuble’s blunt statement.
Britain’s voters were told before the EU referendum that their decision would be respected, but that was before the Establishment position to remain in the EU was rejected.
Clear advice from the City of London, major parties, liberal capitalist media and national broadcasters was assessed and judged unconvincing.
Despite assiduous efforts to spread the lie that only far-right nationalists, xenophobes and racists opposed the EU, a modest but clear majority opted for life outside the institutionalised neoliberal bloc.
The labour movement minority associated with the Left Leave initiative was informed that Remain would stroll home and, if it didn’t, an unassailable right-wing Tory-Ukip majority in Parliament would unleash an anti-working-class blitz.
Remain lost, David Cameron and George Osborne had to go and Theresa May, who had shared their position, gambled away the Tories’ overall majority in the House of Commons.
A rejuvenated Jeremy Corbyn now leads a combative and united Labour opposition and most voters prefer him to lead negotiations with the EU on a Left Leave basis.
This ought to be celebration time for all on the left, but some people cannot conceal their contempt for working people and their decisions.
Who remembers Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, former diplomat and sometime director of Royal Dutch Shell, Rio Tinto and Scottish Power who is said to have drafted EU Article 50?
His lordship said: “We native Brits are so bloody stupid that we need an injection of intelligent people.”
By native Brits he means British workers because he’s a clever boardroom person.
He has teamed up with former Nato secretary general Lord Robertson, Scotland’s former first minister Henry McLeish and Liberal Democrat ex-leader Lord (“Ming”) Campbell and various pro-EU Scottish politicians to declare: “It is time to call a halt to Brexit.”
Sod democracy — clever people believe that voters made a mistake, so let’s discuss how to subvert their decision.
Curiously enough, other clever people have arrived at similar conclusions.
Vince Cable, who sold most of our Royal Mail cheaply to City speculators, says: “I’m beginning to think that Brexit may never happen” because “the problems are so enormous.”
War criminal Tony Blair then pulled a rabbit out the hat by revealing that a “reformed” EU might obviate the need for Britain to leave because Brussels could compromise on freedom of movement.
Note his ongoing fixation with migration rather than working out why people really backed Leave. He forgot to announce that this compromise could be achieved in 45 minutes.
Former Labour minister and erstwhile Blair fan Caroline Flint is spot on in noting: “We need to be straight with people on Brexit.”
This means opposition to cunning plans to keep Britain in the single market and customs union that equate to “EU membership in all but name.”
The rich and powerful lost the referendum. They must learn to respect democracy and end efforts to subvert the people’s decision.