Monday, April 11, 2016

Circling round the subject

There seems to be far too much ink (metaphorically speaking) spilled on matters to do with the Brexit referendum but occasionally there might be something to add even by this blog. For example, there is the question of what is to be done (as both Chernyshevsky and Lenin asked in their day) with the leaflet so thoughtfully sent out by HMG to every household in which the said households were being chided to do the right thing and vote to remain in the European Union.

It so happens that I was discussing that very point with a friend on the phone when the postman hove into view and delivered my copy of it. I suppose before I do anything I ought to have a look at it but, somehow, the mood is not upon me. 

Is this actually legal I ask. After all, MPs and Councillors are not allowed to use official facilities to conduct election campaigns and HMG is not allowed to send out leaflets telling the benighted voters to vote for them because they are so wonderful though, clearly, a government in place has certain advantages over the opposition in matters electoral. Why are they allowed to use official facilities and, thus, taxpayers' money to tell us which way to vote in a referendum? 

Anyway, everything has been said on that subject as well so the only question that remains is what is one to do with this document. I am afraid the paper is a little too shiny for my cats' litter tray (they don't like it); Nigel Farage's advice, as usual, is of no use as it is not in an envelope and, therefore, cannot simply be returned to sender; I have no desire to spend money on the postage. 

I could put it in an envelope, address it the Rt Hon. David Cameron, 10, Downing Street etc and put no stamps on it or stamps that add up to some minimal tiny amount, thus forcing the flunkeys to pay for the postage. If a few hundred thousand of us did it, there would be a great deal of dissatisfaction in Number 10. Or, perhaps, one of the organizations, say Vote Leave or Grassroots Out (GO), could issue a call to collect as many of these leaflets as possible and then deliver them to the gates of Downing Street in a van or lorry. I have not heard of such an initiative so I have to make some kind of a decision myself. 

Meanwhile, we have had a great deal of excitement about the Dutch Referendum that rejected the Ukraine-European Union treaty and the highly predictable fact that the EU is going to ignore it. To be fair, it is hard to see what the EU can do about this. Even as far as the Dutch government is concerned a referendum in that country is advisory but it would be a foolish Dutch politician who ignored it. As far as the EU is concerned 32 per cent of the Dutch electorate is not of any real importance. Nor is it of importance from a democratic point of view. They are a tiny minority of the EU's population and even 64 per cent of that tiny minority does not amount to much. Exactly whom do they represent? Slightly more people than the Eurocrats do but not by much. One cannot have a referendum about something those who are asked are not in control of.

All this shows the dangers of direct as opposed to representative democracy. Those who whine about "not being represented" by our elected representatives had better consider the possibilities of major decisions being taken in the wake of completely unrepresentative direct plebiscites. 

Of course, it is unpleasant to have any section of the people saying NO to whatever they are told is good for them. Does this show growing euroscepticism in Holland or a general fed-upness with yet more migrants from Eastern Europe. Unfortunately, the figures tell you nothing. But it is worth noting that 68 per cent may not have turned out to vote against the agreement but neither did they turn out to vote for it. So, perhaps, dissatisfaction is genuinely growing. 

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