Has there been an issue in British politics over, say, the last one hundred years, over which a British Prime Minister has shown such complete contempt for the British people? Looking back over our history it is difficult to think of any one matter where a Prime Minister has been so prepared to kick the people in the teeth.
In a sense the whole issue of whether there will or will not be a referendum on the ratification of the Union Constitution has moved on. That one side says the Treaty is a completely different from the one resoundingly rejected in 2005 by France and The Netherlands and that the other side says it is a dead ringer has become a sterile one. Brown and his Ministers, who happen to hold the whip hand on the issue, say it is totally different, notwithstanding that almost everyone else in Europe asserts that it is essentially one and the same document. There we are stuck.

Whoever is right and whoever is wrong, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the British electorate has decided that it is appropriate to have a Referendum as is clearly demonstrated (well within any reasonable margin of error) by poll after poll after poll. We do not agree with the Prime Minister’s opinion and, being so greatly in the majority, Parliament ought to get the message and bow to our wishes. Has that not therefore become the simple issue? Is it not called “democracy”?

This is not like, say, the issue of the death penalty for murder, where for so many years Parliament was obviously out of step with public opinion, for that was a matter essentially for the consciences of individual members. No, this is a matter of a Prime Minister who has decided that he knows better than the people who put him in Number 10 and that he has nothing but contempt for them and their opinions which can go hang for all he cares, and anyway he is not prepared to hold a vote which he would lose.

Thus the matter has progressed beyond the issues of the Prime Minister’s personal Honour, the Prime Minister’s personal integrity and the Prime Minister’s personal honesty. It has become a matter of the Prime Minister’s personal democratic credentials.

In that regard, he has decided to place real democracy in abeyance. And if he will do it once, he will do it again.

And what do we call someone who decides to dispense with the need for a vote by his people?

Answers on the back of a real ale beer mat, as usual, please.

It’s good to trust others, but not to do so is much better.

Benito Mussolini