Letter: As others see us

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The Independent Culture
Sir: More heat than light has been generated by last week's European poll. The low turnout was not a result of a xenophobic anti-European feeling in the electorate, but of uncertainty and hesitancy on the part of the people of Britain.

Too often the European Union is presented as something of concern mostly to big business which, rather than empowering us, makes us feel helpless. Unfortunately the development of the European Union has never actively involved the people of Europe - reform has been driven by a small elite.

This was never clearer than at last week's elections, where the European dimension was ignored at the expense of domestic issues, and the elections to the world's only multinational parliament became 15 different opinion polls on the 15 member governments - tests they largely failed.

The solution is properly to involve people in European politics, to have better information on where power lies, to encourage more aspiring politicians to see their future in Europe and to close the democratic deficit in Brussels. For the people of Britain clearly to see their future in Europe, the barriers to their involvement must be broken down.

The creation of devolved assemblies, reform to local government and developments in Europe mean that we are in the process of re-negotiating where power exercised in our name should lie. It must be clearer where different powers lie, for if we don't understand what we are voting for, why should we bother?


Director, Charter 88

London N1