An article published recently on Euractiv reports the Party of European Socialists’ publication of a list of 12 “conservative, liberal and right wing” candidates who are “at risk of being elected” to the European Parliament.
To quote: “The list contains candidates who, it is claimed, variously deny that the holocaust ever happened, dispute the existence of climate change or hold ‘other offensive or absurd’ views.”
Now, leaving aside the fact that mature adults should be free to vote for whoever they choose in a democratic election, it is undeniable that the vast majority of people would indeed find holocaust denial offensive. But what I find far more disturbing is this easy conflation of holocaust denial with questioning of the received wisdom on the drivers of climate change. It has become the norm now for sceptics to be labelled as climate change deniers, in an attempt to place them outside the pale.
However, on this as so many other issues, it is ironic that the only directly elected institution in the EU is so far out of step with the views of those who it purports to represent. This is one of the reasons why many voters are Eurosceptics. The benefits of a single market, free movement of citizens and an unprecedented era of cooperation between countries who were regularly at war with each other are very real but often taken for granted. More visible, unfortunately, are things such as the CAP, the unaccountable and Byzantine Brussels bureaucracy and the continued progress of a highly precautionary environmentalist agenda which does little for European citizens while stifling innovation and growth.
Martin Livermore is the Director of The Scientific Alliance