(newspaper article)

About freedom, democracy or liberty.
By Leo McKinstry, Daily Express, June 16, 2008

THE flag of freedom has been flying low in recent years. Our traditional institutions and liberties have been traduced1 by a Government which despises2 our past.

Our democracy has been grievously weakened by the transfer of sovereignty to an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels.

Our individual rights have been undermined by arrogant officials, constantly prying3 into our lives or grabbing our money. But at last there is a mood of rebellion in the air against the increasingly authoritarian State machine.

In Ireland the public refused to be bullied4 into supporting the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to strengthen further the central powers of the unaccountable EU Commission at the expense of national democracies.

Despite all the blandishments5 of its political elite, the Irish were determined not to engage in further surrender to Brussels. "We had to fight for our freedom and I don't like to see it thrown away," said one Irish voter, summing up this heroic spirit of defiance.

Here in Britain the resignation of Shadow Home Secretary David Davis represents another trumpet blast against the creeping despotism of the State.
Davis6 decided to give up his seat and fight a by-election campaign in defence of our civil liberties after Labour forced through its scheme to extend the legal detention period for terror suspects to 42 days.

........... Even worse was the squalid way the measure was pushed through. In a process that brought shame on our Parliamentary democracy, a deal was stitched up with Ulster's Democratic Unionist Party while taxpayers' money was showered around like confetti to keep most of Labour's awkward squad in line.

It was an outrage that the destruction of one of our most ancient liberties stretching back to Magna Carta in 1215 should be treated as nothing more than a political football by the Government.

Mr Davis is right to take a stand against this cynicism, just as he is correct in railing against identity cards, the mass finger-printing of children, the growth in official powers to snoop around our homes and the sinister spread of surveillance cameras into even our rubbish bins.

In New Labour's brave new world the relationship between the citizen and the State has completely altered.

In a true democracy the State should be accountable to the public but today law-abiding people are increasingly being told to account for their actions by a vast army of tax collectors, recycling inspectors, municipal pen pushers, civil servants, traffic attendants, diversity enforcers and police officers.

It is telling that the political classes in both the EU and Westminster have reacted with such outrage to David Davis and the Irish voters. Endlessly prattling7 about "tolerance", they cannot tolerate any challenge to their cherished project of creating the all-powerful centralised European state.

So they condemn their opponents as lunatic or ill-informed, a smear tactic always used by totalitarian socialist regimes.

In Ireland "no" campaigners were derided as a bunch of "cranks8" while the leading voice against the Lisbon Treaty, telecoms entrepreneur Declan Ganley, was described as "that mad millionaire" by the pro-EU Labour MP Denis McShane. Similarly, in Westminster David Davis is said to have "taken leave of his senses" or embarked on a self-indulgent "ego trip", even though he may have sacrificed a frontbench career for his principles.

The contempt of the political elite for democracy shines through its response to the Irish vote and Davis's resignation. EU bosses have decided to press ahead with integration, ignoring the wishes of the Irish. "We're sticking firmly to our goal of putting this treaty into effect," announced the German Foreign Minister with typical arrogance, despite the fact that ratification is required by all 27 member states.

Gordon Brown, too, has said that Ireland's decision will make no difference to ratification in Parliament. In the same way, Brown used the word "farce" about the by-election9 in Davis's Yorkshire seat of Haltemprice and Howden. But this is because the Prime Minister does not have a democratic bone in his body.

His favourite political activity is running away from elections. Through bullying and threats, he avoided a Labour leadership contest last year, was too terrified to hold a general election last October, then betrayed his promise to hold a referendum on EU integration.

Now he has decreed that Labour will not put up a candidate in the by-election. If he really believes his stance on civil liberties is popular and right, he would have the guts to campaign for it at the polls. But, as usual, his cowardice has made a mockery of democracy.

It is characteristic that the Brown government would prefer to give Turkey membership of the EU rather than give the British public its rightful vote on the Lisbon Treaty. This is an administration that has lost all concept of the real meaning of terms like freedom, democracy or liberty.

It blathers10 about "empowerment" and "Britishness" but it destroys our national identity and freedoms. In place of progress it fosters a climate of fear for its own ends.

It transforms our country through the removal of borders, the ideology of multi-culturalism and the promotion of mass immigration without giving the electorate any say over these far-reaching developments.

Then it uses the consequent rise in violent crime and domestic terrorism as an excuse to expand its repressive powers.

Having caused so much damage to our country, Labour may be shocked at the groundswell11 of public anger that builds up behind David Davis's courageous anger.
899 words

1. to traduce - verleumden
2. to despise - geringschätzen, verachten
3. to pry - herumschnüffeln
4. to bully - drangsalieren, schikanieren
5. blandishment - Schmeichelei
6. Davis recently gave up his constuency seat in protest of Labour policy
7. to prattle - daherschwätzen, labern
8. crank - Griesgram, Verückter
9. by-election - Nachwahlen
10. blather - schwafeln, labern
11. groundswell - Dünung

1. Which two incidents in Ireland and England respectively does the columnist put forward in order to prove that civil liberties are on a decline.
2. According to Mr. McKinstry, how does Labour's 'brave new world' look like? Also take into account Mr. Davis' points of protest against Labour's politics.
3. What does the author of this newspaper article accuse Gordon Brown of, esp. what his attitude towards the EU is concerned?
4. Why does the columnist not trust the EU commission?
5. The columnist obviously disagrees with the European superstate as it has now developed. Pick two of his main arguments which you would also disagree with. Support your own opinion.

© 1997-2021 englischlehrer.de × Alle Rechte vorbehalten. × Ausgewiesene Marken gehören ihren jeweiligen Eigentümern.
englischlehrer.de übernimmt keine Haftung für den Inhalt verlinkter externer Internetseiten.
3.275 (+0)pi × search powered by uCHOOSE