It’s the Ideology

Is Democracy a Nuisance?

Beauty pageantIn EU member countries, their constitutions oblige governments to put themselves up periodically for re-election, or dismissal. The ‘constitution’ of the EU (i.e. the treaties) does not require this inconvenience. This is a designed feature not an accident. To achieve its goal of a federal state in Europe the EU must continuously press for ever closer union, against the wishes of many, if not yet a majority, of its citizens. [1] For this it needs stability and continuity. EU leaders cannot afford to risk a change of regime at the whim of an ignorant or hostile electorate.

In democratic systems disappointing leaders are replaced, often with their opposites. Errors are thereby corrected, typically over-corrected, and so the system zigzags forward, never attaining perfection because the process is too coarse and anyway the goalposts  move as the world changes. By contrast, without elections but with an ideology frozen in a bygone age the system slides towards its extinction through its failures, irrelevance, desertions or even explosive destruction.

Perhaps some people in some member states might be pleased to remove the uncertainty that periodic elections bring and would support a technocratic (i.e. undemocratic) government to replace their own. [2]Lincoln

The EU doesn’t agree with Abraham Lincoln: “No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other’s consent.”

What Do You Think?

  1. Do Remainers like the EU because they believe in its ideals, because they think what it achieves is good for the UK and its people, because they believe that Brexit represents a muddle-headed isolationist tendency, or because they doubt that the UK can look after itself on its own?

If none of these, why don’t they tell us why they think the UK should stay in? [3]

  1. Do Remainers value the democratic opportunity to vote to dismiss or retain their government, or do they prefer the idea of being governed by experts?

We assume these are exclusive, that a government chosen by the electorate will not be run by experts.

  1. Do Remainers think that the EU is taking a hard line on Brexit: because it cares for its citizens and wants to include British citizens; because it knows better how to govern than any UK government we might choose; or because it fears rejection by its citizens unless its citizens are afraid of the repercussions of rejecting it?

Or do they think that the EU’s mandate is reasonable and so we should just accept it? [4]

An Alternative, if We Need One

ReformLate in 2016 the EUObserver published an opinion piece which offered an interesting outline of how the EU might go about reforming itself, assuming that it wants to. ( The author concluded that:

Luckily there are a lot of things that can be done to give the citizens of Europe a new – positive – vision of the future of Europe, and to reduce the interest of outsiders in destroying the EU.”

We don’t want to disengage from Europe or reject partnership with our neighbours. However, we believe that the EU’s flaws are so serious that Britain should leave. We can see that the reforms required are fundamental and can only be achieved by a new treaty that replaces existing treaties. The EU will not allow such fundamental reform.

We have argued that, even if it were possible to implement such reforms, they would be equivalent to pruning the tree when the problem is in the roots, the underlying federalist ideology. However, the proposed reforms might offer a basis for a more soundly based economic community, once the present Union is swept away, together with its ideology and the politics that derive from that. [5], [6]

AttractionsIt seems reasonable to think that, with their experience of the functioning parts of the EU, a good collection of European nations would be interested to replicate those and add others in a less ideological and sovereignty-usurping community. The attractions would have to include some economic successes and address other urgent issues, such as perhaps, immigration, far-right politics, far-left politics, welfare, common standards for trade, environment, data protection and so on.

It is difficult to gauge what Remainers at large find attractive about the EU; perhaps it is the idealism that is (mis)represented in their public relations material.

Europe’s nations are capable of making choices about how they collaborate; their peoples don’t need an unelected, supra-national body to manage them. They don’t need this EU, which is a regime imposed on Europe for out-dated reasons and held together only by an out-dated ideology. People will have their say and if imposed upon they will resist. The future of the EU is highly uncertain.

TalkingThe necessarily voluntary nature of such a community will of course attract cynicism and expectations of much talk and little action, so the early members will have to put deliverables high on their agenda and be willing to compromise more than might be comfortable in order to achieve some worthwhile outcomes.

We discuss the Council of Europe (CoE) in An Alternative for Europe and Europe versus EU.

[1]       Plan v. People

[2]       People and Brexit (Guy Verhofstadt)

[3]       Only Believe (if only)

[4]       Something is Rotten

[5]       Can EU be Reformed?

[6]       Why Not Reform the EU?



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