8 January 2004 Edition
EU Constitution - on the right track to 1984
George Orwell's 1984 envisaged a world divided into three countries, Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. Humanity and individuality are suppressed and people's very thoughts are controlled.
The idea may sound extreme, even in today's world of globalisation and, closer to home, Europisation, but if the debate surrounding the new EU constitution is anything to go by, Europe is moving towards Orwell's Big Brother world faster than we can imagine.
There are many reasons to reject the new constitution, from its sheer length to its impenetrable language and its lack of democratic accountability. Here again it's reminiscent of Orwell's visionary world - where speech codes are used to limit people's ability to understand concepts pertaining to their rights.
Putting stylistic criticism aside, however, the idea of a constitution is in itself a bad idea.
The Constitution's drafters want us to think that there is a single European identity, but the latest barometer poll shows that only 48% of Europeans see membership of Europe as a good thing. Again, in a reflection of Orwell's book, a powerful biased media is being used to build an unwarranted consensus.
There is no proof that Europeans want what distant bureaucrats in Brussels think we need, such as a common foreign policy, a single criminal law, and harmonised tax and social security policies.
Europe's elites have to learn that unity and common interest cannot be imposed from above by bureaucrats, but must grow from the people.