Stephen Fidler, writing in the Wall Street Journal, explains that at the top of the European leaders’ new year resolutions is ‘promising to stay on message’. In other words, leaders and officials are being told to shut up and only sing from the Brussels approved hymnal. It is a recipe for deceit that will widen the gulf between the political elite and the people they are determined hide the truth from.
Fidler provides an anecdote that neatly summarises what communication from the EU will look like in the future:
It used to be quite common for politicians to say one thing to audiences at home and something quite different abroad. The Brazilians have a saying for it: só para inglês ver. It literally means “Only for the English to see” but it’s used to describe things said or done for show where the underlying reality is quite different. It is said to have derived from the 19th century when the British were clamping down on the slave trade, and the Brazilian government (which did not abolish slavery until 1888) pretended to be helping them.
In the example, the role of latter day Brazilians will be played by the EU and the deceived English will be played by the ordinary people of the member states, who be told the party line rather than the truth. This is not about better communication, it is about controlling the flow of information to keep people in the dark. We will only hear what Brussels wants us to hear.
It is an abuse of power by the political elite in its determination to avoid being held to account or accept the wishes of the people. It is neither democratic nor acceptable. But this is what will come to pass unless people wake up and resist what amounts to a concerted effort to enslave us within a new bureaucratic order over which we will have no control.
Update: Witterings From Witney weighs in, observing that the Heads of Member States are just confirming that they are no longer in charge of their country’s destiny.