I am bemused by many of the to-and-fro arguments made about the EU by both Leavers and Remainers, as they seem so irrelevant. To my mind there is only one question that actually matters: national sovereignty.
Do you wish to retain the democratic right to throw out those who frame our laws, or are you happy to have that right subsumed with the opinions of hundreds of millions of others, whose priorities often (and quite naturally) clash with those of the UK? And are you happy for these aggregate wishes to be filtered through a legislative bureaucracy that has no direct electoral accountability whatsoever?
This question is paramount, and assumes no further union of the UK into an EU superstate – as the current structure of the EU stands, its democratic legitimacy is wholly inadequate.
Those who warn about the dangers and difficulties of the UK withdrawing from the EU miss the point – defending the democratic sovereignty of the people has never been easy or safe.
Those who attempt to weigh the economic advantages of retaining EU membership seem to be involved in a bizarre discussion where the sale of their own liberty is already a given, and it is only the price that interests them.
There are also those who deride Leavers as ‘little Englanders’ or who deliberately conflate Europe, as a geographical and cultural entity, with the entirely separate political edifice of the EU. But there is nothing xenophobic in identifying the EU as the wrong political solution for the nations of Europe. They are our neighbours, and I wish them only peace, prosperity and freedom.
And I also wish freedom for ourselves.