Why Brussels won’t give voters a voice
One fact emerges with stark clarity from the Greek debacle: the EU is pathologically opposed to democracy.
Witness the apoplectic rage of eurozone leaders when the Greek prime minister announced he would submit his country’s bailout package to a referendum.
‘Irrational and dangerous!’ cried Nicolas Sarkozy of France. ‘Irritating!’ shrieked Angela Merkel of Germany. ‘Negative!’ opined Italy’s august Silvio Berlusconi, of bunga-bunga party fame.
EU rage: The reaction of eurozone leaders to the news of the Greek referendum has emphasised how the EU is pathologically opposed to democracy
Doesn’t George Papandreou understand, they fumed, that it’s against every EU rule to give voters a say on any issue – never mind one as important as whether Greece should be governed by Germany?
Today, the unmentionable truth about the monster that Europe has become is that it simply cannot function if it takes voters’ wishes into account. Indeed, under its present constitution, the EU and democracy are wholly incompatible.
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This is why the possibility of a No vote in Greece threatens to bring the whole eurozone crashing down, crushing countless livelihoods in the rubble.
In normal circumstances, this paper would hail Mr Papandreou’s decision as the only honourable course for a democrat in the birthplace of democracy.
At the moment, however, a referendum would be irrelevant. For whichever way the vote goes, the ineluctable fact is that Greece will not meet its debts – and the only way it can survive is by defaulting, withdrawing from the one-size-fits-all euro and adopting a devalued drachma.
This is the challenge on which the minds of all leaders in Europe – including Greece – should be concentrated.
As for Britain, mercifully outside the eurozone, the Mail remains committed to a referendum within a year, seeking a clear mandate for David Cameron to reclaim powers from Brussels.
And the europhile Nick Clegg? He should remember that like Greece, the UK has a long tradition of democracy. The Mail, for one, wants it back.
Tax and the Church
As Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams has a duty to speak out when he sees greed, immorality and injustice in the City – themes this paper has been expounding for years.
But is he wise to set himself up as a fiscal pundit, advocating a specific tax policy for the financial sector?
Should Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury really be presenting himself as a fiscal pundit?
Germany and France, long envious of London’s financial pre-eminence, have also championed what is called a Tobin Tax on financial transactions, which critics believe could cripple the City.
The catch is, of course, that unless it is introduced globally – and there’s no sign of that – all it will do is drive business, jobs and tax revenues overseas.
How will that help transfer wealth from the greedy to the needy?
The Mail welcomes Dr Williams’s belated incursion into the debate. But, with great respect, we advise him to leave the fine details of tax policy to those who know what they’re talking about.
A private affair?
Hugh Grant would like his fans to see him as a lovable romantic, bumbling around in his quest for the perfect wife.
The fact that his baby daughter was the result (to quote his publicist) of a ‘fleeting affair’, with a young woman from whom he parted when she became pregnant, tells a somewhat different story.
This paper has argued for years that some of our worst social problems are caused by feckless, absentee fathers – and that shaming these men is an essential step towards a better society.
So isn’t it telling that while his fleeting girlfriend was preparing to give birth, Grant was campaigning for a privacy law to make shaming the guilty illegal?