Extinguishing Democracy in Land Where it Began


Greek protesters threw stones and firebombs at riot police who responded with tear gas in Athens as clashes erupted on the sidelines of a protest against new austerity cuts

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

By Christopher Booker

Greece’s plight has alerted the world to the way the EU extinguishes democracy.

It is peculiarly appropriate that the country that gave the world the words “democracy” and “tragedy” should now be the beacon which alerts the world to the fact that the EU is extinguishing democracy – part of a wider tragedy that will eventually lead to the extinction of the EU itself. But what of our own country’s part in this horrible drama?

It already seems an age since we were told, last June, that David Cameron had “won his fight” to prevent the EU extracting a loan of billions of pounds from Britain to help Greece pay off some of the colossal debt it has run up since it was so foolishly allowed to join the euro. The next move, we learned, was that we would have to lend the money anyway, not through the EU but through the IMF.

George Osborne still cannot promise that he will be able to resist this demand, even though he knows we are having to borrow an additional £2.5 billion every week just to pay for the ever-rising deficit on our own Government’s spending. Thus, in order to lend £17 billion through the IMF to Greece, which it will never be able to repay, we would have to borrow even more money than we are doing already.

The latest contribution to this tragi-farce, it seems, is Sir Mervyn King’s decision to roll the printing presses and conjure a further £50 billion of imaginary money out of thin air. As Fraser Nelson explained in Friday’s Daily Telegraph, this will keep interest rates on annuities at rock-bottom, and thus rob Britain’s pensioners of an estimated £74 billion.

So our pensioners’ money will be disappearing into a bottomless pit of debt, not least to help save the euro, which the EU cannot allow Greece to leave, because this might set off a domino effect, bringing down in turn all those other eurozone countries that have run up debts they cannot repay, and plunging Europe’s and the world’s economy into unimaginable chaos.

There were those of us who long ago came to see that the dream of building a politically united Europe had all the makings of a tragedy doomed eventually to end very badly, and to carry what remained of European democracy with it. But I confess that not even in our worst nightmares did we foresee that it would end quite like this. And even now the end game has hardly begun.

Rebel MPs’ weasel words about wind farms

Last week’s Sunday Telegraph scored a hit with its widely followed front-page story about the 100 MPs who sent a letter to David Cameron protesting against inefficient and costly wind farms. But there was a huge contradiction in that letter.

Look again at this key phrase: “it is unwise to make consumers pay through taxpayer subsidy for inefficient and intermittent energy that typifies onshore wind turbines”. For a start, the subsidy for wind – at least £600 million a year and rising fast – is paid not in taxes but through our electricity bills, thanks to the Renewables Obligation which makes electricity companies pay far more for wind energy than for that from conventional power stations.

Much more glaringly dishonest, however, is that the MPs only protest against “onshore” turbines (their letter repeats “onshore” no fewer than four times).They make no mention of the thousands of offshore turbines the Government wants to see built – even though these are just as “inefficient and intermittent” as onshore wind farms and receive double the subsidy. Onshore wind energy gets a subsidy of 100 per cent; that for offshore is 200 per cent. So why did the MPs not object twice as vociferously to offshore wind farms?

Herein lay the third dishonesty of their letter. They carefully omitted to mention that we have a commitment to the EU to produce 32 per cent of our electricity from “renewables” by 2020. The only way to try to meet that absurd target is by buildings tens of thousands of windmills. The official figure is only 10,000, but Mr Huhne, just before he resigned, was babbling about 32,000, a figure his equally deluded successor Ed Davey has not denied.

So the MPs misled us on three different counts. They know that, due to that EU commitment, the Government will ignore their weaselly letter, which was written as no more than an empty gesture to placate those onshore voters who are increasingly voluble in their contempt for the great wind scam. Until we have MPs prepared to speak with more honesty on this madness, it can only rage on until our lights go out.

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