The last few days have demonstrated that perhaps the political landscape is changing.
Following a E Petition getting over 100,000 signatories, on Monday there will be a debate and non-binding vote on whether the UK should have a referendum on it’s EU Membership, amidst the Euro-zone crisis
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have put a three line whip in place, meaning that voting against the party Leadership (a no vote), consequences could occur. Failing to follow a three line whip usually results a resignation from a Government post, or a closing off of promotion prospects to those without a Government post.
At the same time the campaign group Occupy Wall Street has commenced direct action:
“Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #OWS is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future. ”
What links the two?
For many years it is clear to many that power over people’s lives has increasingly shifted to global forces. Companies are merging and many powerful pan-international corporations wield huge power. Global Capitalism shifts vast sums of money across the global at the touch of a computer screen on whims and the hint of a rumour.
Governmental power has also been consolidated, to mirror the financial markets. The European Union has evolved from a loose group of friendly nations , to a single market and finally into an Economic Union
There is an increasing sense of powerlessness that eroded faith in politics to provide answers. So much of what affects our daily lives ais beyond any sort of accountability to the person on the street. We can do our duty and vote for an MP, and write to them. The truth is that as the Liam Fox Affair highlighted, a voter has virtually no influence. True influence lies with unaccountable lobbyists for a range of commercial interests.
The effect can be seen with lower and lower turnouts, and the phrase “they are all the same” often trotted out.
The Euro-zone is crisis. The nations that formed it gave up economic sovereignty. Different economies as diverse as Germany and Greece were welded together. What is clear is that hanging on the Euro is killing Greece, Portugal and Ireland by chronic austerity. Italy and Spain are on the brink. Germany is increasing bearing the load.
The EU is clearly working on a broken model and everyone can see it. The political and economic experiment is creaking. What is required is an EU that restores democracy and sovereignty to National Governments, alongside economic control.
This is why the Electorate of the UK wants a referendum to address this issue. It is cross party and across all of society. By denying this referendum, all the party leaders are demonstrating why the Electorate don’t trust politicians.
Ed Miliband has a chance to say to the Electorate “I trust you, and want to address your concerns” by removing the three line whip and arguing that we need a different relationship with the EU.
By not doing so, he has failed the Labour Party and the United Kingdom.