Monday 17 August 2015

It's NOT the EU, stupid

I found an interesting quote from Lord Hailsham in 1971 in respect to the EEC.
"It is true that the Communities have gone beyond the consortial pattern. There are these common institutions; the Commission, the Assembly, the Ministers, the court. There are fields of common law, very restricted because they are limited to the fields necessary to give effect to the nature of the economic community, but effective because they are enforced either by the legislative power of the individual member States or by the courts of the member States giving direct effect to rules of community law as interpreted by the Community courts. At first sight, this looks like a derogation from sovereignty. But I submit that, on close inspection, one can see that it is nothing of the kind. There is no physical power behind these institutions except the will of the members to keep their bargain, and no legislative or coercive power except the organs of the members to give effect to that will."
And this is the actual truth of the matter. The EU does not dictate in any real sense. Nothing the UK does in respect of EU compliance is not entirely voluntary. We comply because parliament wishes it to be so. In practice that means never saying no - because unlike the French, we hold true to our word.

The great dishonesty in this is that when the state does comply with the EU, for instance recent benefit cuts, it's dressed up as a domestic issue (ie evil Tory cuts). As it happens, I happen to agree with the measures put in place, but there is no democracy at work here. This is a classic instance of conforming to the EU non-discrimination ideal rather than putting our own interests first. Labour have the luxury of whining about it in opposition but they cannot pretend for a moment that they would do a single thing differently.

Thus the dictatorship is not from Brussels. It is from Westminster. Not only will they not confront the EU under any circumstances, they go to extended lengths to downplay or conceal its influence in some bizarre display of collective denial. The EU does nothing to us. We do it to ourselves - and we do it in "partnership" with the French who have absolutely zero intention of following the rules.

As undemocratic as the EU is, it is Westminster who continues to ignore the will of the public and they do in the certain knowledge that the media will not call them out on it because they lack the intellectual equipment to do so.

This should give some pause for thought to those who believe Jeremy Corbyn is a straight talking, principled individual. He speaks with forked tongue on the EU, believing it capable of reform - but given the constraints upon our democracy he has but two options - no domestic policy changes and the status quo, or further EU compliance. In practice that means either firehosing welfare at any hapless biped with an EU passport, or removing benefits altogether. As a populist he will duck the difficult and unpopular road and do precisely nothing. Or we can have David Cameron who will go right ahead and do everything the EU requires of him.

The short of it is, the options available to us are not ones we would ourselves choose, the way we would have it is closed off to us by way of keeping our word, our politicians have little say in it and continue to pretend they are in charge. This is a sham democracy and will remain so as long as we are members of the EU. But like I say, if we want democracy, Brexit is only the very beginning.

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