Tony Benn – Britain must Leave the EU to restore Democracy


Today marks a new age for the United Kingdom, after 3 and half years we have our democracy back

At 11 p.m. on Friday — midnight in Brussels, Britain will officially depart from the European Union, 1,317 days after voting in favour of leaving the bloc in a referendum that plunged the country into a three-year-long debate over its future.

The Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities took effect on 1 January 1973.

It’s been 47 years since the UK was taken into the ECC by the Tory Party. A move carried out for the sake of short term gain and long term loss of democracy. The United Kingdom lost its right to self-govern. 

A democratic deficit.

Tony Benn said: “In Britain, you vote for a government and therefore the government has to listen to you. 

“And if you don’t like it you can change it. But in Europe all the key positions are appointed not elected.

“The Commission for example, all appointed not one of them elected.

Tony Benn recognised that the Maastricht Treaty, the treaty that formed the EU was a capitulation by the British government to an unelected EU commission. Speaking as the elected member of Parliament and representative of Chesterfield he stated:

I have five questions that I ask people who have power, and I recommend them to the House.

If I see someone who is powerful, be it a traffic warden, Rupert Murdoch, the head of a trade union or a Member of Parliament, I ask myself these five questions:

  1. What power have you got?
  2. Where did you get it?
  3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
  4. To whom are you accountable?
  5. How can we get rid of you?

That last question is crucial. We cannot get rid of Jacques Delors; we cannot get rid of the [European] Commission. We can get rid of a Government; but we cannot get rid of European legislation that a Government have entrenched during their period in office—be they a Labour Government with the Tories coming or the other way around.

The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away. Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights.

If people vote for that, they will all have capitulated. Julius Caesar said, ‘We are just merging our sovereignty.’ So did William the Conqueror.

Now after 47 long years the UK can now become a self-governing country. However Brexit as shown the disconect between the people and parliment and that will prove to be a much bigger problem going forward no matter the EU issue.  

Tony Benn on the EU

When I saw how the European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic. In Britain, you vote for a government so the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can change it.

When asked his own thoughts about the European Union, Tony Benn did not do what most contemporary Labour Party personalities do today, Benn was very honest, open and articulate. Instead of falsely trying to state or justify the virtues that an undemocratic EU allows the UK. He would make no bones about the undemocratic EU. Tony Benn was very clear that the left-wing case against the European Union was about democracy, democracy, democracy or more so the loss of democracy.

In the UK we can remove Governments, change the direction of policy, change laws, demand new laws and rights within our own government but under the EU our very democracy has become eroded, our rights are not determined by the people but by a distant Brussels with no concern other than the bottom line for its globalised masters and the Banks that run the institute that is the EU.

Tony Benn would point out the undemocratic nature of the EU stating the disconnect between democracy the people and a distant EU. Benn would articulate the deficit of the EU parliamentarians who are redundant in the lawmaking process their only part to nod through law with no recourse of amendment or even proposing motions for law themselves. MEP’s can not propose laws or even amend laws their only recourse is to pass or decline.

The only body that can propose a law in the EU is the EU Commission.

The picture painted from the original advocates of entry into the Common Market believed in the 1970s that the globe is divided between Oceania and Eurasia (sorry, we meant the US and the EU) and that the poor little UK has to choose between them. Benn rejected this then, and socialists should reject it now. There is a profound distinction between globalisation and internationalism.

But what we have learnt over the last 3 years is that there is a democratic deficit in the UK one that has shown that our political class no longer listens to the people. 

The UK will never return to a pre 2016 nation our political class have been measured weighed and found short in every respect.

The centre will shift and swing, old working class loyalties will ebb and flow but never be taken for granted by any Party. Just like the Scottish referendum empowered and activated a generation into politics the EU referendum as brought to life a new revolution that will see dramatic upheaval in the UK for a long while to come. 

We now have our democracy back. The real fight now begins the question that remains, are those that hold the power of democracy our acting on our behalf for the benefit of the nation or as we have witnessed their own and the benefit of self.

These five questions remain:

  1. What power have you got?
  2. Where did you get it?
  3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
  4. To whom are you accountable?
  5. How can we get rid of you?
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