Sovereignty

Stained glass

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.

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5 responses to “Sovereignty

  1. “the current structure of the EU stands, its democratic legitimacy is wholly inadequate.”

    From where I sit this is the core issue. I have no vote in this issue so feel free to ignore my comments if you like.

    It appears that the EU is an attempt to recreate the US but without necessary basic structure. The US Constitution, while imperfect, was designed with checks and balances to prevent the greatest abuses of power. The EU appears to be thrown together with no thought to the rights of the people. The current structure is as unstable and prone to abuse as the Articles of Confederation and needs to be replaced or scraped completely.

    If the Brexit vote fails are you willing to follow the lead of the rebel Federalists and fight for a constitution which includes things like elections by the people and a Bill of Rights?

  2. LY, the impression I get is that the programme of EU integration has been based entirely on what has been politically possible at each stage, with no strategic thought about exactly what form or constitution the final EU superstate should have. This end goal in itself is considered acceptable to those creating it, no matter what lumpen shape it finally forms.

    I’m not trying to re-invent the UK, merely return it to the position of a sovereign nation state. I don’t see the need for a new Bill of Rights.

    I do think that even if this Brexit vote fails, the EU will probably tear itself apart before it achieves final unified statehood. But I’d much rather leave now than wait for that to happen.

  3. …[T]he sale of their own liberty is already a given, and it is only the price that interests them.

    Which reminds me of

    “We have already established that, madam. Now we are merely discussing the price.

    –Attributed variously to GBS and Churchill, more probably the former (it sounds like him). Also, “discussing”? Or one of several synonyms? Anyway.

    As the founding member of the American Brexit Club, (which is so far as nonexistent as an acknowledged entity), I think your piece is quite good and makes the main point well. Everything has a downside™, but it still seems to me that whereas joining a Mutual Defense Society, a.k.a. a defensive alliance with the various European nations, would be perfectly sensible (given sensible terms), effectively giving over sovereignty to some body whose first priority is not the defense of Britain or British sovereignty over Britain nor yet the individual people who constitute Britain — well, that just makes no sense, regardless of economic benefits real or imaginary.

    Then there is the difficulty of leaving such a “union” or “federation,” as you folks are currently finding out. Not because the formality of it is so hard (I gather, in your case), but because of the political difficulties within Britain or the UK herself, and that’s before you ever get to whatever leverage the EU has, or thinks it has, over you.

    It’s not going to get any easier if you re-up, or decline to resign when the opportunity looks to be present — even if it does “appear wearing overalls and look[ing] like work,” to quote Mr. Edison.

    You may tell Mr. Cameron et al. that I said so. :>)

  4. Thanks Julie.

    I had forgotten about that Churchill quote, or maybe it was lurking somewhere at the back of my mind as I was writing. Nobody in modern history is as quotable as Winston, of course.

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