Friday, 5 June 2009

Ticking off politicians – and commentators

Political news this morning is of electoral doom for Labour, more resignations due and Darling to stay in post - in other words no change - so I divert to constructive comment on an even more important issue.

I refer to a link from Iain Dale yesterday to Chris Dillow's article Why I'm not voting.

Appended was Dale's summary: "explains why he's not getting off his fat arse to do what people died so that he could. Vote. Makes me sick."

Dillow's article is somewhat circumlocutional. But Dale's comment raised my ire. The prevalence of such vacuous acceptance of EU status quo is a major cause of why we find ourselves with most Westminster legislation being prepared by others in Brussels.

My comment in response was this:
I agree with Chris Dillow with respect to the European elections.

This week I have tramped about my constituency delivering Conservative leaflets for the Euro elections. Today I have spent three hours telling outside poll stations and four hours delivering further leaflets to get out the vote.

But I didn't vote for any Euro candidate, nor have I in the past. Though I have voted to select candidates to stand.

The reason I don't vote in the Euro elections is that I'm unconvinced of their UK constitutional legitimacy. To participate in the election by voting would be to submit my agreement to their legitimacy. And I just can't do that.

Other people have other ways of expressing dissatisfaction with the EU and its parliament - by voting UKIP or for eurosceptic Tories. I don't object, it's their choice. I make my protest my own way.

My conscience is personal and it won't allow me to participate in the Euro election. Even, I'm afraid, if it makes you sick, Iain.
And I added:
Furthermore Iain, I don't appreciate your point that voting in European elections was what British people died for in the World Wars. The opposite makes a more convincing case.

I know that some, perhaps many, people will disagree with my point of view.

LibDems will disagree, but I respect, if disagree, with what is presumably an issue of political conscience for them. Many ardent Tories will have voted for their candidates in the Euro elections. Others (including some Tories) will have voted for 'let's quit the EU now' UKIP candidates.

I'm in no position to challenge the wisdom of their consciences. But, for me, I've always felt uncomfortable with the notion that to remove our nation from subservience to a political process that is imposed upon us by other nations we should participate in the very political process we object to and which has been imposed upon us (notwithstanding our democratically-deceitful European Parliamentary Elections Act).

I respect the genuine belief and commitment of MEPs like Dan Hannan and Roger Helmer, who have certainly shifted the balance of euroscepticism among Tory MEPs. (I suppose I should also say that I guess Nigel Farage believes in what he says too.)

But if I chose to join the euro system by standing to become an MEP it wouldn't be because I ever imagined my presence could end the UK's political subservience. It would have to be just for the rewarding lifestyle. At which point I'd know I'd given my conscience a miss.

The search for political freedom leads in many directions. As potential electors we should try to discover whether potential politicians really believe in what they say. This discovery process is not helped by well-read commentators and erstwhile political candidates, such as Iain Dale, who claim a eurosceptic perspective yet completely miss the point about the political significance of elections to the European Parliament.

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