Not Our ‘Ode to Joy’

Passing some time until an agreement is reached—or not—between the EU and the UK, we reviewed some of our posts from before the UK Referendum and summarise our thoughts in the light of more recent events.

The unjustified centralisation and top-down control of the EU provide sufficiently strong reasons for Britain, having avoided joining EMU, to leave the Union, because of the failures of its ideology and the inability of its managers to deliver outcomes that meet the needs of the peoples of Europe [1].

Democracy and Accountability

The EU has continued to evolve in accordance with plans first conceived around 90 years ago (by Jean Monnet and others). The goal was to put an end to wars by putting an end to nationalism. The way to achieve this goal was to build a single state for all the continent’s people. There is no evidence that this can be made to work. Only democratic accountability has been able to achieve this over the long term, as governments recognise the risks to themselves of war-mongering.

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, eventually. The future of the EU is highly uncertain because of its lack of accountability [2]. It is not possible to build a flourishing community that disdains accountability to its citizens. To win active participation democracy is required: if democracy is disdained then autocracy is required. The EU is an autocratic regime. A European community would be a good idea but the idea has to start from respect not from contempt. [3].

An Alternative

Europe and the EU are not equivalent, as the EU frequently claims in its careful (or deliberate) use of the term ‘Europe’. There is another, older, European organisation that includes many more countries of Europe and operates with respect for Europe’s democracies, without seeking supra-national authority. This is the Council of Europe (CoE); it is responsible for much that the EU takes credit for [4].

The European Union is not an innovation, it is a reformation; an attempt to return a part of the world to an imagined state in which it was ‘properly managed’. Increasingly, commercial, social and financial innovations are coming from other global organisations, conventions and treaties that are based in respect for, and an understanding of, changing circumstances and diverse cultural forces. The EU has taken on some of these ideas and decided that they need to be expressed as uniform laws and regulations rather than as standards or recommendations that need democratic legitimacy before they can be implemented.

We don’t want the UK to disengage from Europe or reject partnership with our neighbours. However, we believe that the EU’s flaws are so serious that Britain must leave, and cleanly—which means not with the sort of ‘deal’ that the EU demands. We can see that the reforms the EU requires are fundamental and can only be achieved by a new treaty that replaces the existing treaties (TEU, TFEU) but the EU will not allow such fundamental reform. The UK must try to find favourable relationships wherever there are better opportunities. We should not remain in a misdirected, undemocratic and failing union, let alone some poor substitute [5].

Why does it Survive?

The objective strategy of the EU is to create a single European state, the expected outcome being the end of nationalism and therefore of war between its constituent nations. The flaws and failures of its design and practices are obvious but the apparent idealism of the mission helps obscure these. The EU takes credit wherever it can for achievements it has not delivered, such as: peace, economic growth, equality and more.

There is a tension between the wishes of the peoples of Europe and the wishes of the elites who want to manage them. ‘Elites’ include those in the member states who have a direct interest in the preservation of a super-state that can relieve them of some responsibility while taking the blame for whatever goes wrong, while they get on with pursuing their own interests. Crises, real or imagined, keep attention on the public relations and help to obscure the true agenda [6].

The underlying tension between the peoples of Europe and the elites of the EU is growing and may, one day, cause the EU to break up.

So Why Don’t We Like the Union?

When Edward Heath explained to the public the implications for the UK of joining the Common Market he said there would be no loss of sovereignty. In fact the civil service had briefed the Cabinet differently—he lied. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office briefing document (FCO 30/1048 – 1971) made some prescient points, including: the UK will lose sovereignty and our laws will become secondary to EU laws; we will join the Common Market but the path to total union has already been chosen; and the public won’t like this so the Government had better not to tell them too much [7].

The EU project is misdirected and misrepresented. The true agenda—ever-closer union—is not the declared agenda and the declared agenda—a better and fairer life for all citizens—is designed to disguise the consequences of the true agenda. The true agenda is to be achieved by fiat; by member states giving up ever more of their sovereignty, to a superior power which takes little account of their wishes.

The central problem is that the EU project is about centralising power. If it succeeded the outcome would be to reduce Europe’s attractive and stimulating (if sometimes inconvenient) cultural and economic diversity to a dull and ineffective uniformity; we can see how this is turning out.

[1] Past, Present, Future

[2] The Wrong Kind of Union

[3] Themes-11: Disdain & Contempt

[4] Europe versus EU

[5] Why Not Reform the EU?

[6] Why Some Countries Like EU

[7] Our EU Entry was Prefaced with a Lie

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