Mr Clegg’s contempt for democracy on EU



00:13 GMT, 28 December 2012

Out of touch: Clegg demonstrated how he remains as detached from the views of the electorate on Europe as ever

Out of touch: Clegg demonstrated how he remains as detached from the views of the electorate on Europe as ever

Yesterday a poll conducted by a pro-European newspaper revealed that 51 per cent of the public want Britain to leave the EU, against just 40 per cent who say they would vote to stay in.

Even one in three supporters of the Liberal Democrats – Britain’s most ardently Europhile party – now want out.

Yet, in a typically condescending interview to the same newspaper, Nick Clegg demonstrated how he remains as detached from the views of the electorate on Europe as ever.

Despite the fact the euro has been a major factor in the financial tumult causing such pain in Greece, Italy and Spain. And despite its risible lack of democracy and accountability, Mr Clegg said Britain needs to become more – not less – engaged with a political project that still teeters on the brink of collapse.

He then swatted aside overwhelming demands for a referendum by arguing that no vote should take place until the eurozone debt crisis – now entering its fourth year – has been resolved.

Truly, this is nothing more than a cynical attempt by Mr Clegg, whose wife is Spanish and who for years was himself a Eurocrat, to kick the issue into the long grass, for fear of voters returning a verdict his friends in Brussels do not like.

Equally cynical is his claim that holding a referendum now would be a distraction from the work required to repair Britain’s own struggling economy.

We remind Mr Clegg that he had no such worries when he insisted on a referendum on the introduction of an obscure new AV electoral system then, when he lost, reneged on a deal for boundary reform.

With such contempt for democracy, is it any wonder that voters are deserting the Lib Dems in droves

Protect the innocent

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Tragically, there have been a string of shocking examples of doctors failing to spot the signs of systematic child abuse when treating injured youngsters.

Yesterday ministers announced that, to help hospitals identify patterns of violence, all visits to A&E by minors will be logged on a computer system and shared across the NHS.

Understandably, the Government argues that – if just one child can be spared the horrors suffered by Victoria Climbie and Baby P – the database will be worthwhile.

But, before they proceed, ministers must ensure that proper safeguards are in place to protect the parents of children hurt in innocent circumstances from being logged as potential child abusers.

They must also be certain that Whitehall – which has such a wretched record for IT projects – is capable of keeping the hugely sensitive information secure.

Ensuring the safety of children is paramount. But that will not be achieved if caring parents feel frightened to go to A&E for fear of what will happen next.

The Chilcot cover-up

The Chilcot Inquiry, we were promised when it was set up in 2009, would reveal the full facts about how Tony Blair dragged this country into a shameful and almost certainly illegal war in Iraq.

Yet, 22 months after the last witness gave evidence, its report has been put back to the end of next year at the earliest.

The delay – caused by Whitehall officials blocking the inclusion of correspondence between Blair and George Bush in the build-up to the invasion – is a disgrace.

Isn’t it ripe The Leveson Inquiry – which had powers denied to Chilcot – can convene and report in 17 months. Yet when our political masters lie and deceive and cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the walls of secrecy come slamming down.

Truly, the British Establishment knows how to look after itself.