During World War Two the Czechs and the Poles came to the rescue of Britain and ultimately of Europe, making a great contribution to the war effort. It looks like they may save us all again!

There is no doubt that without Polish and Czech pilots fighting with the RAF during the Battle of Britain, the “War in the Air” could very easily have been lost leaving the British Isles at the mercy of Hitler and the Nazis. Poland provided 145 pilots (30 were killed) the most of any country apart from the UK itself. Of other countries only NewZealand and Canada provided more pilots than Czechoslovakia (87 Czechs plus 1 Slovak) 8 of whom died.

Now again the Czechs and Poles are coming to the aid of Britain – and also, if you think it through – of the European Union. Both countries have suffered since the end of the Second World War by being firmly held within the Soviet sphere of influence. Perhaps it is that experience which explains both countries reservation about the ever expanding European Union “project”.

At a recent European Parliament plenary session the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said that the attempts to speed up and deepen EU integration could endanger all the positive things achieve in Europe in the last 50 years. He went on to say that we must not find ourselves in a situation “where the citizens of member countries live their lives with a resigned feeling that the EU is not their own, that it is developing differently than they would wish, that they are only forced to accept it”.

Echoing the view of many British EU sceptics he questioned whether the EU decision-making process was the best way to achieve the goals of EU integration. He challenged MEPs, “Are you really convinced that every time you take a vote, you are deciding something that must be decided here in this Chamber and not closer to the citizens, i.e. inside the individual European states?”

Klaus, who refuses to say whether or not he will sign the Lisbon Treaty, further stated that “The present decision-making system in the European Union is different from a classic parliamentary democracy, tried and tested by history. In a normal parliamentary system, part of the MPs support the government and part support the opposition. In the European Parliament this arrangement has been missing. Here only one single option is being promoted and those who dare think about a different option are labelled enemies of European integration. He pointed out that people in Eastern Europe had “lived in a political system that permitted no alternatives” and that “with no opposition, there is no freedom.” Sounds like he isn’t going to!

In Poland President Lech Kaczynski has said he will not sign the EU’s Lisbon Treaty even though it has been approved by both houses of the Polish parliament. Kaczynski is not happy that changes he wanted which would ensure that the Polish constitution took precedence over the Lisbon Treaty have been agreed and he also feels that as Irish voters have already rejected the treaty it should now be abandoned.

Like Klaus, Kaczynski also knows what it is like to be ruled by a dictatorial Soviet Union and in common with the other former communist states he does not want to exchange one undemocratic and monolithic system for another.

The Poles and the Czechs value real democracy having lived under a dictatorship. They value the ability to oppose policies with which they don’t agree. Don’t you think we should be listening to them? Looking at how things are going in the UK where any hint of opposition to the Labour government is stamped on without mercy. Just think about the life-long Labour member who shouted out “rubbish” to Jack Straw at a Labour conference. He was arrested under anti-terrorism law. Then there is the case of two people peacefully reading out a list of the Iraq war dead at the Cenotaph. They too were arrested. Then there is poor old Damian Green. Again arrested under anti-terrorism law. Doesn’t it all sound a bit Stalinist to you?

Let’s not forget that there were also 10 Irish citizens flew for the RAF in the Battle of Britain.  The Irish have already rejected the Lisbon Treaty and under the EU constitution that should have been an end of it. However, never keen to actually listen to dissenting voices, the EU have told the Irish to have another vote, presumably until they “get it right”.

Our Czech, Polish and Irish friends saved us in the 1940’s. Let’s pray they do so again. Hitler would have removed our freedoms by force; the EU could well do so by stealth.

Read another opinion on the Lisbon Treaty here. 

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