Any sensible democrat would support, not oppose, EU

“I know it would make me worse off, but I am against the EU because I am a democrat” is a frequently cited Leave argument.

Like most Leave arguments, it is utter garbage.

And it is utterly hypocritical. We live in the UK – a country whose Head of State is hereditary, whose upper house of parliament is appointed (in ways not really aligned to the public’s votes), whose Prime Minister enjoys an absolute majority having attained just 37% of the vote, and whose corridors of power are disproportionately filled by people who went to particular schools. This is scarcely a beacon of liberal democracy. It is funny how few of these excitable “democrats” propose leaving the UK

The EU is vastly more democratic. Its Council consists of Ministers from democratically elected national governments; its Commission consists of appointees from democratically elected national governments approved by its Parliament, and said Parliament is directly democratically elected in the second biggest global election there is. The EU is gridlocked on many occasions, such as over refugees, not because it is not democratic, but precisely because it is!

Furthermore, in a world where we use Chinese-made phones developed in America to listen to Swedish music apps while driving German cars requiring Saudi Arabian oil, a vast number of decisions which affect us are made in boardrooms, or dictatorships, or committees over which we have no say whatsoever beyond the market – a market which spectacularly fails when oil causes wars or lending causes banking crashes. The notion that we deal with all of this by pretending globalisation does not exist and building walls (under the propaganda of “national interest”)to confirm this denial of reality is not democratic. On the contrary, it simply leads to political disunity in the West, thus handing more power to the banks, corporations, committees and vast undemocratic countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia. That is the inevitable outcome of said “democrats'” lunacy.

If any of these suddenly enthusiastic Brexiteers had long records as “democrats” supporting Lords reform, changes to the way honours are given out, or even just a new electoral system for the Commons, I would begin to believe them. They don’t.

Actually, they don’t want to leave the EU because they are “democrats”; they want to leave because they are “nationalists”. Underlying it all is a fanciful, ludicrous and often xenophobic notion that somehow automatically the British (ahem, English) do democracy and Johnny Foreigner doesn’t – when all the above evidence demonstrates beyond dispute that it is the UK’s democracy which is obviously outdated and flawed.

The EU, meanwhile, has welcomed in countries emerging from both fascist dictatorships and communist regimes and secured for them representative democracy backed by free trade. No other project in human history has expanded democracy faster and to more places than the EU has. It is a remarkable achievement – and a profoundly democratic one!

I am a democrat. That is precisely why I support reform of the UK’s institutions and it is precisely why I supported the EU’s eastward expansion. And it is precisely why I will be voting REMAIN.


5 thoughts on “Any sensible democrat would support, not oppose, EU

  1. The Listener says:

    You sound quite hysterical! On one hand I supported eastward expansion to provide stability for those countries and the firming up of democracy. However it is now apparent because of its size and the requirement for consensus from 28 nations the EU has all got into a muddle!

    When new countries are extremely poor then any citizen who has a spark of “go” about them, qualified or not, will head west. Qualified persons, say Nurses and Drs will be stripped out off those poorer countries. If new Euro citizens and refugees who acquire Euro citizenship elsewhere, end up as an avalanche in the UK, we shall find our services crashing and there will be social upheaval. We must be able to control our borders, and regulate admission until the EU apparatericks wake up and smell the coffee.

    The fantasists in the EU would like to see European armed forces. With 28 members and consensus politics, how long would it take to go into action? Why was Syria not sorted out 6 years ago? Because of PC correctness and European dithering. Now we have a trashed country and suffering refugees.

    The Euro was a good idea for a group of north western, reasonably rich countries. Its application to rather impoverished states has caused financial mayhem and economic disaster for many citizens, ask the Greeks, the Portugese and the Spaniards?

    If David Cameron had come back with a sensible plan agreed for managed movement applicable to new EU citizens until the great and good nations had helped their countries improve their living standards, and decision making processes were sharpened up, then I would vote remain.

  2. A few years ago, people from Alliance, the SDLP even Sinn Féin did the unthinkable, joined by Plaid, SNP, Lib Dems, around half the Labour Party and a small rump of Tories … they joined UKIP’s side on a campaign.

    They opted for the Alternative Vote.

    The fact that UKIP would be the main beneficiary and the Tories the main losers didn’t matter. This wasn’t about gerrymandering British democracy, as choice could change.

    Unionists in Scotland are the next biggest losers from Westminster, they vote to remain in the UK but get only 3 seats out of 59.

    UKIP get 24 seats in the EU Parliament, only 1 in Westminster. “Unionists” get 2/3rds of Scotland’s seats just like in Northern Ireland.

    So I agree entirely with the concept that the UK Westminster system isn’t as democratic as the EU.

    For the Republic of Ireland – There are 3 major independents getting elected over large constituency areas.

    The MEPs in the European Parliament show a far more honest reflection of a non-elite from the 28 nations who would be marginalized otherwise.

    The European Parliament veers to the right, veers towards Euroscepticism and national interests more than collective responsibility and joined up ideas but that is unquestionably because it is democratic and represents the people.

    The Council of Ministers, the European Council, the Commission … that’s just national governments and their appointed bureaucrats and will continue to exist in some form if there is a Brexit, unless the UK falls apart or embarrasses a level of direct democracy that is 10 times stronger than the Swiss.

  3. Let’s talk about the issues briefly.

    1. Migration – UK gets non-EU migrants from poorer countries to fill skills shortages, not university specialisms but general medical and surgical tasks. Migration is a two way process and UK skills are moved in the opposite direction. Myan, a local engineering firm found work in Romania at one stage. Poland is one of the fastest growing economies in the EU.

    2. Refugees – The Dublin convention means the only refugees that the UK have to take on board are those who don’t enter another EU country to get here. There’s been no influx of Norwegian, Icelandic or even Moroccan refugees. Refugees often come from outside the European continent (Ukraine a possible exception).

    Refugees in the UK come from areas like China, Eirtrea, Afghanistan, Pakistan … countries that have stronger links to the UK than other parts of Europe.

    Most refugees don’t stay around for citizenship and have desires to return to a secure home. If they get citizenship, they are going to have to prove to the country that they are living in that they are contributing as much to that nation as any “native does”.

    So the issue of influx and every person in Europe going to Britain is nonsense.

    3. All European Army – I affiliate with the one of the 6 neutral countries in the European Union, and I certainly would demand no such thing, without the consent of the 6. However what that leaves is 22 NATO allies within the EU, with the likes of Norway, Iceland and Turkey in to help them.

    What has NATO done to help the refugee crisis, given it is the sovereign military alliance of Turkey and every EU nation in the Mediterranean bar Cyprus?

    4. Euro in the Southern Economies – Undoubtedly the Euro is a stronger currency than the naysayers say it is, with it being the second largest reserve currency in the world after the UK dollar. The problem is when saying leaving the Euro somehow

    Greece, Portugal and Spain suffered depreciating currencies and weak currencies and debt crisis before outside any European trading block. These countries don’t want to elect the governments who’d negotiate leaving the EU and leave that currency for weaker ones.

    Defaults on the loans will lead to devaluing of the credit score, less borrowing funds available and austerity. Shifting to a different currency without painful government reforms is unlikely to work, and the only case it would work is from high global aid and sympathy.

    Greece cannot vote its way nor print its way out of a debt crisis. It was tried in 1945 with the hyperinflation on the drachma, voting for an anti-establishment government election in 1944 lead in part (with the economic problems) to Civil War.

    Look at our European neighbours Ukraine, it has a massive sovereign debt problem and it is not in the EU or the Euro.

    • * Correction Malta as well as Cyprus are not in NATO of course. Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, even Albania I think are.

  4. […] Astonishingly the UK’s most prominent politicians did not read my blog post last week, and so the Brexiteers continue with the nonsense that the EU provides a “democratic deficit”, when the simple fact is it does the precise opposite (as established last week, in the real world, the EU’s problem is if anything that it is too democratic). […]

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