I don’t much care for Simon Jenkins, the Guardian (and Sunday Times) columnist, but this time he’s spot on.
Have you noticed how the political establishment hates elections? It regards them as vulgar, foreign, exhibitionist and unpredictable. To those in power they are mere concessions to mob rule. If electors did not insist on them, elections would have been abolished long ago as Victorian gimmicks to appease proletarian sentiment.
There is no other explanation for Westminster’s reaction to Ireland’s weekend vote on the Lisbon treaty and to David Davis’s resignation over 42-day-detention. Nor is there any other explanation for the welcome that will be given to Hazel Blears’s forthcoming local government white paper. This will, it is rumoured, reduce the 95% of elections still held in Britain (local ones) to largely consultative status, to clear the ground for Gordon Brown’s Putin-style appointed regional government.
In the case of Ireland, the rule is clear. Any change in the constitution of Europe requires unanimity among the nations of Europe. Irrespective of what moved the Irish electorate, the treaty has failed and must be redrafted. Yet Britain, France, Germany and the rest are proceeding with ratification as if the vote had gone the other way. They are saying that Europe’s constitutional framework – good or bad – can be disregarded when inconvenient, for instance when democracy has rejected what they want…