Tony Benn: The case against the EU is its lack of Democracy


Tony Benn resisted the entry to the Common market in the first place, and continued to oppose it as undemocratic.

 In Arguments for Democracy (1981) Benn is scathing about the fact that multinationals’ profits “made in one country can be exported to another where perhaps wage rates or taxes are low” (sound familiar today?). He goes on in the same pages to criticise the subjugation of British foreign policy to that of the United States before announcing a page later that joining the Common Market was “the most formal surrender of British sovereignty and parliamentary democracy that has ever occurred in our history”. from Civitas

The Greek crisis has finally brought the lack of democracy in the structures of European Union to the forefront.  Tony Benn explains why the left opposed and should continue to oppose the EU.

Uploaded on Sep 26, 2007

Tony Benn talks about the ‘big issue’ of the EU constitutional treaty at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth, and there is a link to the full meeting here, which also features Austin Mitchell, and Kelvin Hopkins. Tony Benn speaks at about 5:40 mins.

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First Thoughts on the EU elections


By Prue Plumridge

The UKIP campaigned on an anti-europe ticket.

My question is:

If they are anti-europe why have they not declared their position on the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership currently being negotiated behind closed doors?

They have been surprisingly quiet on the issue.  Now why could this be?  It would have been a powerful weapon in their campaign against the EU.

Let’s remember that Nigel Farage’s great hero is Thatcher.

Her pursuit of the neoliberal ideologies of deregulation, privatisation and trade liberalisation have left behind a destructive legacy which we are now more than ever reaping the consequences of.  Time will prove (I am certain) Farage’s hypocrisy and deception.

We should be clear that the UKIP are libertarians who believe in free market economics and this is the economic model currently being promoted by an unelected, undemocratic cabal of EU commissioners who are negotiating a trade deal with the US that will favour globalisation and the continuing ascendancy and undemocratic power of the big corporations.  

Clearly there is a dissonance between what Ukip supporters believe the party stands for and reality.

Whether they are in denial or their support is a protest against the established parties it matters not.  There will be tears before bed-time if we continue to think of this party as a group of fruitcakes or loonies or purely a focus for protest.  They are cleverly dissimulating their real agenda and the next few months will be interesting as surely they will have to nail their colours to the wall.

It may seem to some that I am expressing anti-EU sentiment.  I hasten to add that I am not.  I believe that our future lies within the EU.  Not the current austerity imposing neoliberal juggernaut which is bringing Europe to its knees but a properly democratic EU which is socially just, acts for the benefit of its citizens and ultimately remembers its history. 

I wrote an article, in May last year, for Think Left. (  A year on I stand by it.  The rise of the right throughout Europe is, whether we like it or not, an articulation of the fear being expressed by its citizens over continuing uncertainty and fear for the future.  Citizens, however have not woken up yet, to the fact that the Right including UKIP are only offering more of the same.

The Left need now to rise to the challenge and show there is another fairer and more socially just way.