Google Ad

Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ignorance is Bliss

I have seen from both sides of the EU argument, the opinion expressed that all that is needed to win is for the people to become better informed. Peter Mandelson’s attack on the BBC was partly due to their alleged ignoring of European matters. I was therefore surprised to see the opposite view put forward in the FT by Quentin Peel. (subscription needed)
There is a conspiracy of silence between those backing the treaty and those against it. The latter know that most British hostility rests on a vague sense that the EU is a threat to national sovereignty. They do not want to know that the treaty makes a clear distinction between national and EU competence and actually reinforces the powers of national parliaments.
Whilst I can agree with the idea that much British hostility is a gut feeling, the idea that of itself that feeling is enough to make me happy is false. Every Eurosceptic worth his salt is crying out that the people will be much less likely to be against the treaty if they actually read it. I count myself among those who think that the EU’s longevity is based on ignorance of how it works. On the other hand:
The trouble is that the UK government is also half-hearted about a proper information campaign. It does not want Europe to feature in the coming general election. It wants the treaty to be seen as a triumph for British “red lines” – for maintaining the national veto on questions of taxation, defence and foreign policy – while playing down the ways in which it does reinforce EU powers, such as those of the European parliament.
So the UK government is definitely scared of the people being informed about the EU. Not really enough for a conspiracy is it. The real problem is that politics is boring. How many people really want to discuss at length the pros and cons of three hundred pages of legal drivel? It’s only by talk of straight Bananas and taking the Queen off our money that most people can be persuaded to take an interest. We have nothing to fear from the public knowing more and are therefore not part of the conspiracy.

No comments: