Democracy Movement

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This article is about a political group in the United Kingdom. For the political movement in China, see Chinese democracy movement.

The Democracy Movement (DM) is a crossparty Eurosceptic pressure group in the UK with around 150 local branches.

History[edit]

The Democracy Movement was founded by Lady Annabel Goldsmith in January 1999. She became its President[1] and her son, businessman Robin Birley, served as the organisation's chairman until 2004.[2] Democracy Movement originated from the ideas and campaign of the late James Goldsmith's Referendum Party in 1998. At its launch, describing the campaign as an effort "in memory of Jimmy", Lady Annabel said:

I'm not anti-European - my husband was half European and my children are a quarter French. I just don't want to be governed by Brussels, and I don't think people want to give up their sovereignty. Jimmy used to describe it as sitting at the top of the mountain watching a train crash - that was like us heading for the European superstate.[3]

The DM is funded by donations from grassroots supporters although the Goldsmith family and the Eurosceptic businessman Paul Sykes have made large campaign donations in the past.

Policy positions[edit]

It campaigns on a number of eurosceptic issues such as opposing Britain entering Economic and Monetary Union or the Eurozone and has also campaigned against the EU Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty.

Its opposition to the euro is on the grounds that the British government would lose control over interest rates, exchange rates and spending on public services. On the EU Constitution the Democracy Movement claims that far from being a 'tidying up exercise' of existing treaties and powers as the government claims, the Constitution represents a fundamental change in the nature of the EU and a significant increase in the centralisation of decision-making power in Brussels.

The Democracy Movement calls for the dismantling of the EU and its replacement with a new flexible and voluntary form of co-operation between European governments, called the 'Europe of Democracies'. Powers will be decentralised from Brussels back to elected national parliaments whose laws will resume legal precedence. Trade will be facilitated between countries within Europe and across the World, and an internationalist outlook will be developed. Billions of pounds from the Brussels budget will be re-distributed to the peoples of Europe.

Activism[edit]

On 12 January 2001, the DM launched an advertising and leafleting campaign, worth around £500,000, to expose the parliamentary votes of pro-Brussels candidates before the May general elections.[4] The organization released two million pamphlets that carried provocative headlines about the 'horrors of a European state' and published full page local newspaper advertisements in the constituencies of politicians in 120 "target" seats. These included 70 Labour MPs, 35 Liberal Democrats, six Conservatives and three Scottish National Party candidates.[5]

The DM has published a quarterly magazine, These Tides, in support of eurosceptic pressure groups across the continent. Its stated aim is to "keep the international family of activists working for the post-EU Europe".[6] Contributors have included Norman Tebbit, Tony Benn, Gisela Stuart and John Redwood.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldsmith, Annabel (2001-05-30). "What Jimmy taught me about the importance of the pound". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-22. 
  2. ^ Young, Robin (2001-01-13). "Goldsmith widow takes his mantle". The Times. 
  3. ^ Sylvester, Rachel (2001-01-09). "'I owe it to Jimmy to keep his dream alive'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  4. ^ "Goldsmith widow targets Europhiles". BBC. 2001-01-13. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  5. ^ Nuki, Paul (2001-03-18). "Goldsmiths launch election blitz against pro-euro MPs". The Sunday Times. 
  6. ^ "Democracy Movement: These Tides magazine". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 

External links[edit]