Dennis Kennedy
Dennis Campbell Kennedy is a writer on Irish and European affairs. Currently based in Belfast,  he has worked 
as a journalist in both parts of Ireland, and in the United States and Africa. From 1985-1991, he was Head of the 
European Commission Office in Northern Ireland, and later  lecturer in European Studies in Queen's University 
Born in Lisburn, Co.Antrim, he was educated at Wallace High School Lisburn, Queen's University, Belfast, and 
Trinity College Dublin. He graduated in Modern History from Queen's in 1958, and received a PhD from Dublin 
University (Trinity College) in 1985.



Posted by Webmaster on June 5, 2016 at 2:45 PM


Mr Gove has found a new bogey man to scare the voters into quitting the EU. Up to now the menace has been ‘the unelected bureaucrats’ in Brussels who are dictating policy to the whole of Europe. (The Exiteers always call them ‘unelected bureaucrats’ even though a bureaucrat is, by definition, unelected, being a career civil servant. The adjective ‘unelected’ is there to add a sinister touch.)

Trouble is, as has been pointed out, the bureaucrats of the European Commission have no power to dictate to anyone. They have no role in the adoption of European law – the power to do that lies with the ministers of national governments sitting in the Council of Ministers, and the Members of the European Parliament. So Mr Gove may have felt he needed a better target.

The new bogeymen, revealed by Mr Gove in his Sky News interview on Saturday, are ‘Europe’s elites’ . He does not seem to have told us exactly who these ‘European elites’ are. The dictionary says an ‘elite’ is the best part of anything, or a select group of people, or an aristocratic or exclusive clique.

His tone rules out the first two generally laudatory descriptions, and leaves us with the artistocratic and/or exclusive clique. Who is in this exclusive group who, have, according to Mr Gove, been depressing wages across Europe, destroying jobs and putting his ‘fish-merchant’ father out of business. (His father inherited a family fish processing concern employing about 20 people which collapsed in the 1980s. Mr Gove says it was ‘destroyed by the EU’.)

So the EU is this menacing elite? The term aristocratic or exclusive group is one some people would be tempted to apply to the European Council – the body bringing together the heads of government of all the member states – for it is clearly exclusive and is indeed a bit of an aristocracy. But not at all, for Mr Gove talks of Europe’s ‘elites’ in the plural and denounces them all as ‘unelected’ and ‘unaccountable’. As the heads of government are all elected, and all accountable to national parliaments, they are off Mr Gove’s hook.

So too are the Council of Ministers, as they too are all elected, as indeed are all members of the European Parliament. At another point in his interview Mr Gove seemed to suggest that the major financial institutions and every economist who has failed to support Brexit are also all part of the indicted elites. “These are the people” he says “who have seen the euro collapse, who have seen a migration crisis on our borders. It’s time we said you have had your day, unelected, unaccountable elites – you’re fired.”

(The euro, by the way, has no more collapsed than the pound. When the euro was set up in 1999 it was trading at 1.5 to the £;today it is 1.3; in 1999 the pound was trading at 1.6 to the US$, today it is 1.4.)

This is populism at its worst; set up an ill-defined target and tell the people ‘these European elites’ are the cause of all your ills – just vote to leave ‘Europe’ and the problem will disappear.




Categories: Brexit

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