Jeremiah, 5:21 – “They have eyes, but they see not, ears, but they hear not, like the idols which they made and worshipped.”
There are non-economic reasons why we voted to leave. Peace, brotherhood and justice are not well-served by the EU as it is. In our view the idealism inspired by a continent in seemingly continual conflict has become an inflexible ideology. The longest period of peace in Europe began with the defeat of fascism in 1945, not with the European Communities of 1952. The best that could be said honestly is that the existence of the European Communities has coincided with a period of continuous peace (i.e. absence of war) in Europe. This is not much of a claim, which is why it is ‘sexed up’ by proponents of the EU. Preserving, and pushing on with, the Project now overrides action to keep their promises to improve citizens’ welfare.
In many countries around half the young are unemployed, what will be the consequences? EU leaders are determined to stall as long as they can, and blame the lack of completed union for the problems, risking an ever worsening crisis, as they stall and blame.
In their defence EU leaders point to many successes which, of course, they unfailingly attribute to the EU, even when praise properly belongs elsewhere (for one example see Europe versus EU). For most, if not all, of these claims the question pops up, ‘Could this not have been achieved through a normal free trade agreement?’ The unchallenged assumption is that no, only the Union could have done it. While good things have happened in the 60 years since the first economic community was launched in Europe, there is simply no justification for claiming that the ideology of the EU was required.
The claim that the Union has supported democracy is also often made. On the contrary, the EU has curtailed democracy to the extent that most of the legislation was imposed on national governments without their parliaments having been given a say, as is their sovereign prerogative, at least in the UK. The European Parliament can scrutinise legislation prepared by the Commission but cannot veto or reverse it. This is not democracy in any meaningful sense.
Between November 2014 and September 2016 EU Commission members conducted 88 ‘Citizens’ Dialogues in 27 EU countries (none were held in the UK). The number and location of these dialogues is reported in the State of the Union 2016 address given by the Commission President, Jean-Clause Juncker to the European Parliament. However, there is no mention of the content of these dialogues or any conclusions the Commission has drawn from them. For the EU, the existence of such events is sufficient demonstration of its democratic legitimacy.
Also in the State of the Union publication, J-C reminds us that in 2014 he said that “My first priority as Commission President will be to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and to stimulate investment for the purpose of job creation.” He goes on to tell us that “…we have been pursuing a clear strategy: to build a ‘virtuous triangle’ of investment, structural reforms, and responsible public finances that aims to deliver both prosperity and social justice.” Of course he doesn’t tell us how the corners of his triangle are to deliver either prosperity or social justice. Which, of course, is why we don’t believe him.