According to the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, a former Communist hardliner, Eurosceptics are “psychological terrorists” because they suggest that there is a growing “European superstate.” Napolitano said this when he and Horst Köhler, the President of Germany, addressed a group of students at the University of Siena. The EU is not a European superstate, Napolitano said, it is a “a new form of democracy.”
What Mr Napolitano apparently means is that EU decisions are made without reference to the population, indeed against the wishes of a majority of the population in many cases. This is the current comprehension of democracy within the elites that have the temerity to believe they act in our name. It is in fact “post democracy.”
‘Post democracy’ is a term coined by Colin Crouch in an excellent pamphlet for the Fabian Society and more recently here. Basically it means that with the great complication that exists in the modern world, it is only reasonable that our governance is expropriated by those with the intellectual capacity to deal it. The common mass, ignorant and stupid as they are, are not equipped to comprehend the intricacy of politics. (Prof Crouch is not an exemplar of this approach though he sympathises with it). It is a concept that has been taken up with alacrity by many on the inside track in Brussels. European Commissioner Peter Mandelson was referring to this when in a speech in Germany he uttered the infamous words “the era of pure representative democracy is slowly coming to an end.”
What makes the attack by the German and Italian President’s more extraordinary is that they claim that this new era is upon us, but also claim that it is “utterly false” that as the Eurosceptics say the EU is “an incomprehensible, technocratic and bureaucratic system.” It is, in which case the technocrats should carry on as before without reference to the unwashed, or it isn’t and the mob should be allowed their say. You cannot have it both ways.
When the presidents of Italy and Germany start attacking Eurosceptics as mouthing “populist demagoguery” then I really take umbrage. This actually shocked the Italian girl I asked to translate Napolitano’s words for me. Her comment says it all, “These men are deliberately trying to associate Euroscepticism with Hitler and Mussolini. They must be frightened.”