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A Tory plebiscite

EU governance is closer to the Lockean ideal than the US or British constitutions. A referendum is unjustified

There would be something charming?quaintly reminiscent of Trollope perhaps?in the image of Britons “from pub landlords to vicars” forming a queue to vote in the Daily Mail “referendum” on the proposed EU constitution. Charming, that is, if it were not so corrosive of proper democratic debate.

The current campaign for a referendum shows just what is wrong with plebiscitary democracy. It is a clever campaign because it uses and abuses two of the highest political values in the west: limited government and democracy. Limiting government by blocking activities of “foreign” institutions may seem prudent, yet it is impractical in an…

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