Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding arrived in London last Monday for an EU-sponsored ‘Citizen’s Dialogue’. The event grabbed a lot of media attention because of remarks she made about how ‘uninformed’ the British public is about the EU, declaring that the Great British Public is too ignorant to adequately decide to stay in or leave the Union.
She also blamed the media for distorting the facts about the EU and therefore contributing to this ignorance. Conservative MP James Wharton retorted: “It might just be that rather than fearing an uninformed decision, what this well-paid EU commissioner is really afraid of is getting the answer she does not want.”
Amid this arrogance, she proudly boasts how 70 percent of British law is manufactured in Brussels, implying that we are too integrated in the EU to easily sever our bonds with the Union. Would that fact make any self-respecting Eurosceptic reconsider the benefits of leaving of the EU? Viviane Reding clearly lacks self-awareness of the impression her remarks make, but it does clarify how little the Europhiles understand the growth of Euroscepticism.
We have to ask, on what basis can Reding claim that Britons are too ignorant about the EU to vote on whether to stay or leave? Her lack of evidence for this claim suggests that she has a deep-seated concern – that Euroscepticism is rising in Britain and she is trying to undermine it by misrepresenting any criticism of the EU as ‘ignorant’.
Reding is attempting to curb the sovereignty of the people with the misleading claim that we do not know what she knows to be true about the EU. When would a vote against EU membership be valid in her opinion? At which point will we be informed enough to be trusted to vote?
I suspect that she would regard any decision to divorce from the EU as an ‘ignorant’ decision, preventing any sort of constructive dialogue from taking place. As an anti-Brussels campaign, Get Britain Out condemns her comments as another dismissal by out-of-touch Eurocrats who want to set the terms of the debate and dismiss those who disagree with them as ‘ignorant’ and ‘uninformed’.
The fact that Nick Clegg emerged yesterday to resurrect the myth that 3 million jobs would be ‘threatened’ by Britain exiting the EU suggests an all-out counterattack against Euroscepticism is in motion. Clegg doesn’t go into detail about which jobs would be lost or why. And there’s a reason he doesn’t: there’s just no evidence that 3 million jobs will be lost. He also fails to acknowledge the deficits caused by EU membership, including the loss of potential jobs resulting from the huge costs of this partnership.
Europhiles like Clegg and Reding are more than willing to use misinformation to support their increasingly untenable position. It seems for every unconvincing pro-EU argument that they make, one more person then sides with UKIP. Labour and the Conservatives are largely silent about the issue of an EU Referendum, leaving only the Lib Dems campaigning to keep Britain in Europe.
Clegg’s caricaturing of UKIP as a party who want to “pull up the drawbridge, close the door and turn our back on the world” reflects his fear about UKIP gaining more popularity as the General Election approaches. With the May European elections around the corner, the Europhiles have much to be worried about.
Sam Woolfe is Research Assistant at Get Britain Out