Wednesday, August 15, 2007

British sceptics "hysterical"

From the Economist again:
Feeding British voters unserious nonsense about coups d'état only serves to whip people up into a hysteria—and that makes other Europeans look at British voters and call them hysterical. It is hard to see how that is in Britain's national interests.
Well I suppose "Hysteria" is an improvement on "swivel eyed" which epithet this correspondent recently used about British Eurosceptics.

It is notably British euroscepticism that is always highlighted in this pejorative way but this is surely perverse given the results of the French and Dutch referenda. Not to mention the fact that according to Open Europe 75% of the total EU population (83% in Britain) also want a referendum on the reform treaty. The British public are certainly still the most sceptical but the Germans are fast coming up on the inside post. Not only would a 52% majority of Germans vote against this treaty but 54% would also vote to repeal the Maastricht treaty, abolish the Euro and restore the Deutsche Mark. All of this demonstrates yet again that British eurosceptics, whilst well ahead of the curve, are hardly the isolated "awkward squad" of legend.

Let us take another instance - was Roman Herzog the former President of Germany being "hysterical" when he stated in Welt Am Sonntag on 14 January 2007 that:
"By far the largest part of the current laws in Germany are agreed by the Council of Ministers and not the German parliament ... Therefore the question has to be asked whether Germany can still unreservedly call itself a parliamentary democracy."

He was referring to the pre treaty dominance of European legislation in Germany (80% of all German legislation originates in Europe according to the German Ministry of Justice). He didn’t use the expression “coup d’etat” but his sentiments hardly contradict the general thesis of British critics in the Telegraph or elsewhere.

This is all relevant in considering the charge made by the Europe correspondent above that parts of the British press are being "hysterical" when they are not only reflecting the concerns of their own readership but also the majority of not only British but European public opinion as well.

In fact the boot is entirely on the other foot. The Economist’s Europe correspondent should be questioning why the media in the Netherlands and France turned out to be so massively unrepresentative of Dutch & French public opinion? He or she should be demanding to know why there are not more papers like the Telegraph in Europe since there is clearly a large, growing and underrepresented demand in Europe for eurosceptic views.

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